PIA: Repeal and Don’t Replace the Federal Insurance Office
WASHINGTON — In a letter to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) calls for the repeal of the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) without replacing it.
PIA National Executive Vice President & CEO Mike Becker said that with Congress poised to significantly roll back key provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, repeal of the FIO should be included in the Financial CHOICE Act, the legislative vehicle for Dodd-Frank reform.
“At the same time, we would like to see a provision that was inserted in last year’s version of the Financial CHOICE Act removed,” Becker said. “That provision would create a new federal office called the Office of the Independent Insurance Advocate within the Treasury Department. We are concerned that merging the FIO into such a new office could unintentionally establish an even stronger federal insurance entity with an even broader mandate.”
PIA opposed the creation of the FIO from the outset. In 2010, advocates of federal insurance regulation succeeded in getting the FIO established as part of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank)—but PIA, along with others in industry including the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), fought back attempts at the time to give the FIO broad authority. In the end, protections against the FIO acting as a regulator of the business of insurance were included.
“Neither the Federal Insurance Office, nor an Office of the Independent Insurance Advocate, is needed,” said PIA National Vice President of Government Relations Jon Gentile. “If the goal of the new Congress is to eliminate unnecessary federal regulation, getting rid of the FIO makes good sense. Doing so would reaffirm that regulation of insurance should continue to be the responsibility of the states.”
“PIA National respectfully asks that the 115th Congress use the Financial CHOICE Act to fully repeal the FIO without shifting its current duties into a new federal office,” said PIA National in its letter to Chairman Hensarling. “It is possible to achieve the goals of streamlined federal efficiency, a unified voice in international negotiations, and the provision of resources to the independent member of FSOC without the creation of this office. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss such solutions.”
Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association that represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance, but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes and businesses. PIA members are Local Agents Serving Main Street AmericaSM. PIA’s web address is www.pianet.com.