On March 18, 2009, U.S. Congressmen Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) and Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) introduced the Insurance Industry Competition Act of 2009 (H.R. 1583). H.R. 1583 seeks to amend the McCarran-Ferguson Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1011 et seq., by removing the federal antitrust exemption for the insurance industry.

Currently the McCarran-Ferguson Act: (1) gives each state the power to regulate and tax insurers; (2) allows insurers to share information, such as information on development of insurance forms and loss data; and (3) affords insurers an exemption from the federal antitrust laws when the practice is part of the “business of insurance” and is “regulated by State law.” H.R. 1583 seeks to repeal the exemption from the federal antitrust laws and give the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission the authority to apply federal antitrust laws to the purported anticompetitive behavior in the insurance industry. According to Congressman Taylor, H.R. 1583 would not affect the ability of individual states to regulate the business of insurance.

H.R. 1583 was referred to the House Judiciary Committee, the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Financial Services Committee and is awaiting review.

For a copy of H.R. 1583, please click here.