Tomorrow, July 26th, the Senate Banking Committee will be holding a confirmation hearing on S. Roy Woodall’s nomination as the voting representative for insurance on the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC).
For several months, NAMIC criticized the administration for its delay in nominating an independent insurance expert to serve as a voting member of the FSOC. FSOC currently has two non-voting insurance representatives - Michael McRaith, a former Illinois insurance director who only recently came on board to head the newly created Federal Insurance Office (FIO) and John Huff, the Missouri Department of Insurance director, who has been serving on FSOC since last fall.
On June 24, 2011, Woodall, a former Kentucky insurance commissioner, was nominated by President Obama to the FSOC – filling the final insurance slot on the body charged by Dodd-Frank to examine and regulate systemic risks to the nation’s economy.
Woodall is a former president of the National Association of Life Companies and has worked at the Treasury Department in both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations as an expert on insurance-related issues. Among his tasks at Treasury was overseeing terrorism-risk-insurance issues, and he has also been a consultant on insurance issues with the Congressional Research Service.
It now remains to be seen whether Woodall’s confirmation process beginning Tuesday can go smoothly. Both Republicans and Democrats have lobbied for a swift appointment to fill this position on FSOC in order to bring adequate insurance representation to the body, but Republican senators continue to block key Obama administration appointments - particularly those filling roles related to Dodd-Frank over concerns with the broad role the Act creates for the federal government in financial services regulation.
NAMIC shares the concerns expressed by many in Congress that Dodd-Frank implementation should be a deliberative process with strong oversight, but supports the nomination of Woodall and hopes for swift confirmation. FSOC has already begun crafting new regulations that could significantly affect the insurance industry. Withholding confirmation for that “insurance expert” position would not stop that process, but instead leave the FSOC blind to insurance issues as the rulemaking continues.
NAMIC looks forward to working with Woodall in his new role, should he be confirmed. With his experience he gives FSOC a firm understanding of the role of insurance in the economy - and should be well aware that mutual property/casualty insurance companies did not contribute to the economic crisis or pose an ongoing risk to economic stability. With this knowledge, Woodall can help focus the designation process for Systemically Important Financial Institutions on those companies who, through their participation in high-risk activities, pose a true risk to the American economy.
NAMIC worked tirelessly during development of Dodd-Frank to ensure the mutual property/casualty industry was not the target of financial services reform. However, the battle will continue as the process of implementing Dodd-Frank continues.
For further information, please contact Dylan Jones, Federal Affairs Counsel.
Posted: Monday, July 25, 2011 2:38:01 PM. Modified: Monday, July 25, 2011 2:46:52 PM.
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