On Tuesday, July 29, 2008, the Senate Banking Committee, chaired by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), held a hearing entitled, "State of the Insurance Industry: Examining the Current Regulatory and Oversight Structure." The Committee heard from a wide variety of witnesses with varying opinions on issues including an optional federal charter, surplus lines and reinsurance legislation, producer licensing legislation, and the proposed Office of Insurance Information in Treasury.

Witnesses were:

  • Richard Bouhan, Executive Director, National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Offices;
  • Steven M. Goldman, Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, on behalf of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners;
  • Travis B. Plunkett, Legislative Director, Consumer Federation of America;
  • Alessandro Iuppa, Senior Vice President, Zurich North America, on behalf of the American Insurance Association;
  • L. John Pearson, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Baltimore Life Insurance Company, on behalf of the American Council of Life Insurers;
  • George A. Steadman, President and Chief Operating Officer, Rutherfoord Inc., on behalf of the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers;
  • Thomas Minkler, President, Clark-Mortenson Agency, Inc., on behalf of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America; and
  • Franklin W. Nutter, President, Reinsurance Association of America.

Peppering the witnesses with questions, Chairman Dodd evidenced his interest in gathering information about whether lines of insurance should be treated differently, whether the Committee should consider "a comprehensive, Blueprint-like reform" or targeted reforms for specific lines of insurance, and whether an OFC would protect consumers while making the market more efficient and competitive. Recognizing that time is of the essence, the Chairman said he aims to pass "targeted legislation that has wide support" - a seeming reference to the Nonadmitted and Reinsurance Reform Act, S.929 - before the 110th Congress winds down. Copies of the witnesses' opening statements are available on the Senate Banking Committee's Web site.