PIA National Proposes Changes to Insurance Advocate
PIA National sent a letter to Jeb Hensarling, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, expressing concerns about the creation of a new federal office called the Office of the Independent Insurance Advocate within the Treasury Department. PIA specifically requests changes in the bill to scale back the power of this new office.
A section of the Financial Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers, and Entrepreneurs (CHOICE) Act merges the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) with the independent member with insurance expertise on the Financial Stability Oversight Council to create the Office of Independent Insurance Advocate.
The director of the new office would be a Senate-confirmed presidential appointee with a six-year term. The new office would have its own budget and would be able to hire its own employees, including attorneys, analysts, and economists. Although housed in the Treasury Department, the bill has language prohibiting the Secretary of the Treasury from taking action to “delay or prevent the issuance of any rule or the promulgation of any regulation by the Independent Insurance Advocate,” and prohibiting the Treasury Secretary from intervening “in any matter.” This language seems to prevent the Treasury Secretary from exercising any authority whatsoever over any regulations that the Independent Insurance Advocate decides to promulgate, or any other actions the Advocate takes.
PIA is advocating for the repeal of the FIO without replacement. We are currently the only national association publicly advocating against the creation of this new insurance office.
The new version of Financial CHOICE Act is expected to be released sometime this month.