On Sept. 27, Rep. Denny Heck (D-Washington) and Rep. Ted Budd (R-North Carolina) introduced H.R. 4592, the “International Insurance Standards Act,” in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill would provide safeguards to ensure that federal objectives for international negotiations more closely align with the interests of consumers, the U.S. insurance sector and its state regulatory system.
Unfortunately, some in the international community wish to impose untested insurance regulatory regimes onto the U.S., the largest, most stable insurance marketplace in the world. Historically, from time to time there has also been disagreement between federal and state insurance representatives on key issues, further complicating international interaction.
H.R. 4592 seeks to unify the voice of “Team USA,” which is composed of the Federal Reserve, the U.S. Treasury Department and state regulators. Specifically, it would require federal representatives to coordinate with and seek to include U.S. primary insurance regulators (state insurance commissioners) in international insurance standard-setting negotiations or agreements.
The bill would also ensure that representatives from the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve oppose standards that would be incompatible with U.S. insurance regulation.
Lastly, it would provide for greater congressional oversight of international insurance agreements and require federal representatives to consult with the Federal Advisory Committee on Insurance, where a Big “I” member currently serves, prior to entering into an agreement. Similar legislation passed the House by voice vote during the last Congress but failed to move in the Senate.
The Big “I” supports H.R.4592 because it believes that insurance regulatory requirements should to be determined by domestic lawmakers and regulators rather than international bodies; and the U.S. must speak with one voice to effectively combat international encroachment on state regulation.
Heather Eilers-Bowser is Big “I” counsel, federal government affairs.