The Senate Banking Committee will hold the first in a series of hearings focused on insurance on Tuesday, March 17. The hearing is titled “Perspectives on Modernizing Insurance Regulation.” NAMIC was chosen to testify as a part of the industry panel as the representative of main street property/casualty insurance companies. We secured our seat at the table for this critical hearing to help lawmakers understand the role and importance of mutual property/casualty insurers as Congress plans to start introducing legislative proposals to overhaul financial services regulation. The other industry groups participating will be the American Insurance Association, American Council of Life Insurers, Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, Reinsurance Association of America, and Consumer Federation of America.
John Hill, president/COO of Magna Carta Companies and chairman of NAMIC’s Financial Services Task Force, will be testifying on behalf of NAMIC. We are concerned about proposals that may harm our members that serve the main streets of America – institutions that serve local needs, use sound business practices, and maintain trust built upon long-term, community-based commitment. Mr. Hill’s testimony will put forward NAMIC’s position that the property/casualty insurance industry is diverse, competitive, well capitalized, and should not be swept up in any ill-conceived new regulatory regime.
Mr. Hill and the NAMIC staff will be working throughout the weekend to prepare for this important hearing. We must ensure that we continue to educate lawmakers on the need to remain focused on the causes of the crisis. This hearing is a great opportunity to help shape the financial services regulation debate.
While most in Congress agree that something must be done to address this financial crisis, there is no consensus around a single proposal. Some on Capitol Hill have endorsed the notion that the country needs a systemic-risk regulator, however there still seems to be no clear conception of what it would look like – nor even a clear definition of what might constitute a systemic risk. Others on Capitol Hill are interested in a more comprehensive regulatory overhaul. This debate will be unfolding in the coming weeks as the House and Senate continue to hold hearings on the subject.
As evidence of the uncertainty, the Senate Banking Committee will hold six hearings this month designed to examine and explore a range of options to help the country both recover and protect itself in the future. Two of the hearings will focus on the banking sector, two on securities, and two on insurance. Of the two insurance hearings, one will call on a broad cross-section of the industry to testify and the other will hear from government officials and regulators.