Florida Regulator Holds Public Hearing on New Reinsurance Rules

Apr 30, 2008

Insurance Journal--April 29, 2008

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation held a public hearing to ask for input on a draft rule that would implement 2007 legislation giving the insurance commissioner discretion to allow unaccredited reinsurance companies to conduct business in Florida � without having to post 100 percent collateral.

The public hearing follows a Nov. 26, 2007, workshop and is the next step in the state’s rule implementation process to find alternative approaches to issues facing Florida’s property insurance market.

In early 2007, the Florida Legislature passed a law that gives the insurance commissioner the ability to establish lower collateral requirements for foreign reinsurers that are highly rated and financially sound. The OIR is exploring whether this may lead to more reinsurance capacity to increase the supply of insurance in the Florida market.

"It is important for Florida that highly capitalized, well regulated foreign reinsurers be allowed to conduct business with Florida insurers without requiring them to post millions of dollars in collateral," said Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty. "It will lead to increased capital and competition in our state, and it will help to stabilize and potentially reduce property insurance rates."

When an insurance company buys reinsurance from a reinsurer authorized or accredited in Florida, the insurer gets a favorable accounting credit. U.S.-licensed and Florida-accredited reinsurers do not have to post collateral under current law.

For an insurer to get favorable accounting credit for reinsurance purchased from an unaccredited reinsurer, even if the unaccredited reinsurer is worth billions of dollars and is well regulated, the reinsurer has traditionally been required to post collateral for the full amount of the risk transferred. This collateral requirement is a barrier to investment by foreign reinsurers in the Florida market, according to the OIR.

Following review of comments from today’s public hearing, the rule will next be presented to the Florida Cabinet for final approval. No date has yet been set for that presentation.

Source: Florida Office of Insurance Regulation