PIA Statement on Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 5983)
PIA National issued this statement on the draft of the Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 5983). The bill was introduced on September 9, 2016 by its sponsor, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX). It was then scheduled for a committee markup on September 13, 2016. In PIA’s statement, we express serious concerns about the creation of a new federal office called the independent insurance advocate.
The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) thanks House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) for his efforts to curtail the encroachment of the federal government on the state regulation of insurance with the introduction of the Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 5983). Dodd-Frank has given too much power to federal entities to regulate insurance companies. PIA National has long opposed federal intrusion into the insurance industry, including the creation of the Federal Insurance Office (FIO).
However, PIA has serious concerns about a provision of the bill that would create a new federal office called the independent insurance advocate. We recognize the value of consolidating the role of the independent member of Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) with the information sharing and observation components of the current FIO. PIA is pleased with the inclusion of language stating that the creation of the independent insurance advocate office of the Department of Treasury does not give it power to supervise or regulate the business of insurance. This serves as some protection against federal overreach if this new office were to become law but we remain unconvinced of the need to create a permanent insurance office in the federal bureaucracy.
This new office—which, like the FIO, would be housed in the Treasury Department—is expected to coordinate federal efforts on international insurance matters, including at the International Association of Insurance Supervisors and assist in negotiating covered agreements. As such, we are concerned that the independent insurance advocate may develop into an even stronger Federal insurance entity, by formalizing a position with an even broader mandate.
PIA National again thanks Chairman Hensarling and the committee for their work on this issue and we look forward to continuing our dialogue with them.