In August, Senators Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced the Insurance Competition and Transparency Act of 2010, which would provide the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with oversight authority over the insurance industry. The bill proposes an amendment to the Federal Trade Commission Act to strike a decades-old provision that restricts the FTC's authority to investigate and disclose information about the insurance industry. As such, the proposed legislation would provide the FTC with authority to conduct studies, prepare reports and release information related to insurance companies without prior congressional approval. Moreover, the bill explicitly states that it will apply to insurers regardless of whether the insurer is a for-profit or not-for-profit organization.
The bill was promoted by its sponsors as complementing the comprehensive insurance reform legislation passed earlier this year. Indeed, the bill mirrors the language of a proposed amendment offered by Senators Pryor, Rockefeller and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) during that debate. Despite targeting the health insurance industry, the proposed legislation would apply equally to property and casualty insurers and greatly expands the FTC's authority to monitor, investigate and regulate the insurance industry as a whole.
The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation for consideration.