Thursday, May 21, 2009

NAPSLO Applauds Introduction of Surplus Lines Bill in House

NAPSLO applauded the introduction of the Non-Admitted and Reinsurance Reform Act of 2009 in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Dennis Moore (D-Kan.) and Scott Garrett (R-NJ), and indicated they hoped the bill would be introduced soon in the Senate.

“NAPSLO is pleased to see Rep. Moore and Garrett introduce the bill in the House and we look forward to working with them to get the bill passed,” said NAPSLO President John Wood. “We are also encouraged regarding prospects for the bill being introduced in the Senate shortly. Passage of this bill would help streamline and reduce barriers in state regulation of surplus lines insurance”

The NRRA is, in part, aimed at making access to the surplus lines market more efficient for consumers and the brokers and agents who assist them. In addition the bill could help standardize state regulations facing the industry.

Reps. Moore and Garrett, members of the House Committee on Financial Services, submitted the bill on Thursday. Senators Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Mel Martinez (R-FL), members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, have also announced that they plan on introducing a version of the bill in the Senate.

“We believe that this legislation will bring efficiency and reduce the cost of regulatory compliance in surplus lines placements with multi-state exposures,” said NAPSLO Executive Director Richard Bouhan. “Consumers will benefit because the costs related to the inefficiencies and redundancies, which they bear, will be eliminated.”

The bill would establish national standards for how states regulate the surplus lines market and reinsurance and would create a uniform system of surplus lines premium tax allocation and remittance, one-state compliance on multi-state surplus lines risks, and direct access to the surplus lines market for sophisticated commercial purchasers. These are concepts long endorsed by NAPSLO and promoted with members of Congress during meetings over the past few years.

The House passed similar versions of the bill in the last two sessions of Congress and the Senate took up a similar bill in 2007 but no action was taken in the Senate prior to the end of the 110th Congress, requiring that the bill be reintroduced in the 111th Congress in order to be considered.

“Rep. Moore’s leadership has been important in getting the bill approved in the past two sessions and with the addition of Rep. Garrett as the lead Republican sponsor, we believe the prospects for passage are excellent,” said NAPSLO’s Washington D.C. representative, Maria Berthoud of B&D Consulting. “We are also encouraged by the interest in the bill by the Senate and are hopeful it will be passed in that chamber this year.”

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