NAPSLO officials applaud Senators Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) for introducing, and Senators Bill Nelson (D-Fla) and Mike Crapo (R-Id) for cosponsoring, the Nonadmitted and Reinsurance Reform Act of 2009 in the Senate. The bill, which was also recently introduced in the House of Representatives, was introduced in the Senate on Thursday.
“We are pleased to see Senators Bayh and Martinez taking the lead on the surplus lines bill and look forward to Senate consideration of this needed piece of insurance reform legislation,” said NAPSLO President John Wood. “This bill would help consumers by making property/liability insurance more readily available and improving the efficiency of the surplus lines insurance market.”
The NRRA (HR 2571 in the House and S 1363 in the Senate), is aimed at streamlining and reducing barriers in state regulation of surplus lines insurance and reinsurance. It would create a uniform regulatory system, while preserving the role of the state regulator.
“This bill would simplify the tax remittance and compliance responsibilities surplus lines brokers must discharge and bring efficiency and cost reduction of regulatory compliance in placements with multi-state exposures,” said NAPSLO Executive Director Richard Bouhan. “Such reform would benefit not only the brokers and underwriters who provide surplus lines insurance but also consumers who ultimately pay the price for the inefficiencies.”
In May, Representatives Dennis Moore (D-Kan.) and Scott Garrett (R-NJ), introduced H.R. 2571 in the House. 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 it took no action prior to the end of the 110th Congress, requiring that the bill be reintroduced in the 111th Congress. NAPSLO has been informed that H.R. 2571 will be passed under suspension in the House in early July. NAPSLO officials said they are hoping to see action take place soon on the surplus line reforms and believe there will be wide support for the legislation, noting that NAPSLO and other industry organizations have worked together in advocating enactment of this type of legislation.
“With the introduction of the bill in both the House and Senate, and wide support from the industry, we believe that this bill will be approved and signed into law,” said Maria Berthoud, Partner, B&D Consulting. “Financial services reform is currently front and center in Washington which gives us an excellent opportunity to have this bill included and passed in any larger reform measure.”
In addition to congressional action, insurance regulatory reforms are also under review by the White House. In early June NAPSLO was among a select group of insurance trade associations attending a Listening Discussion with White House officials on regulation of the financial industry Ms. Berthoud and other industry representatives met with Diana Farrell, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council and Deputy Assistant to the President, and Michael Barr, Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions at the Department of Treasury. On June 26, NAPSLO will attend another White House meeting to discuss how this surplus lines fits into the Administration’s regulatory reform plans.