On February 11, 2009, Representatives Melissa Bean (D-IL) and Ed Royce, (R-CA) announced that they plan to introduce the National Insurance Consumer Protection and Regulatory Modernization Act (the “Act”). The Act would create a federal charter for insurance regulation and would create, according to Rep. Bean, a “streamlined and uniform regulatory process that enhances competition and reduces the multi-state regulation barriers.”
Under the Act, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' model laws on consumer protection would be incorporated into a newly created Office of National Insurance (the “ONI”) to provide more uniform regulation across the country. Specifically, the Act would do the following:
- Create a new position for a “systemic risk” regulator to monitor insurers and gather financial data from insurers and other affiliates in a holding company structure;
- Allow the ONI access to financial records of all affiliates within a holding company structure;
- Require consultation of the ONI to find the most effective form of regulation for systematically important issues; and
- Allow the ONI to regulate federally registered insurance holding companies that have a predominant share of insurance businesses at the holding company level.