U.S. Representative Kanjorski Reintroduces Bill to Create National Insurance Office
May 27, 2009
New Treasury Unit Would Provide Expertise on Insurance Policy at a Federal Level
WASHINGTON – Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski, the Chairman of the House Financial Services Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee, announced on May 22, 2009 that he has reintroduced the Insurance Information Act of 2009 (H.R. 2609). This legislation would create a federal Office of Insurance Information within the Department of the Treasury to provide advice and expertise on insurance regulation to the Administration and to Congress. Six Members of the House Financial Services Committee, including Congresswoman Judy Biggert (R-IL), Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, joined as original co-sponsors of the bill.
“If anyone had any doubts about the importance of insurance to the American economy, the spectacular collapse of many sectors of the industry and their requests for federal support should have dispelled them,” said Chairman Kanjorski. “While most other pieces of the national economy have some sort of knowledge center within the federal government, insurance currently stands without a central office. The Office of Insurance Information would help Congress and the federal government make better decisions regarding national and international insurance policy, as such knowledge of the industry does not exist at this time. Additionally, as I currently work to examine what role the federal government should ultimately have in overseeing insurance, this legislation provides a minimum step to ensure that insurance is not at a disadvantage as compared to other financial products.”
“This bill will help to guide and inform federal policymakers on insurance matters while preserving sound regulatory practices and consumer protections that are currently working well at the state level, as in Illinois,” said Congresswoman Biggert. “It will establish a new office to provide insurance expertise in the federal government and facilitate important and regular dialogue among Congress, the private insurance sector, state and federal regulators, and the international community to ensure there is an economically sound and competitive marketplace. I appreciate Congressman Kanjorski’s hard work on this bipartisan measure, and am pleased to join him as the lead cosponsor of the bill.”
As laid out in H.R. 2609, the Office of Insurance Information would:
- Collect and analyze data on insurance;
- Advise the Secretary of the Treasury on major domestic and international policy issues;
- Report to Congress every two years;
- Establish federal policy on international insurance matters; and
- Ensure that state insurance laws remain consistent with federal policy in coordinating international trade agreements.
H.R. 2609 would also establish an Advisory Group to help inform and advise the head of the insurance information office. Those represented in this group would include state regulators, consumer groups and others parties in the insurance industry.
In the 110th Congress, this legislation passed the Subcommittee unanimously. Most recently, on May 12, Chairman Kanjorski held a hearing to examine the federal government’s role in insurance and the need for regulatory reform in the industry.