The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies awarded Reps. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., and Denny Heck, D-Wash., as the association’s Federal Legislators of the Year for their work in supporting and protecting the U.S. state-based system of insurance.
Duffy, long before and certainly since becoming the chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, has fought to safeguard the U.S. insurance system that has served the nation well for more than 150 years.
“As chairman of the subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, Representative Duffy has been a strong voice for free markets, open competition, less regulation, and less litigation. In other words, he fights for the people who run businesses on main street America,” said Jimi Grande, senior vice president of government affairs for NAMIC. “He has led the fight against the importation of dangerous international standards on U.S. insurers and remains a stalwart champion of our industry in the fight against unnecessary federal regulation and overreach.”
Heck has also displayed great leadership for the industry, becoming the most prominent Democratic voice standing up for U.S. insurers. He has pushed federal agencies to address the concerns of the insurance industry and, in lieu of an adequate response, introduced legislation to protect the U.S. insurance system.
“Since coming to Washington, Congressman Heck has shown himself to be a practical, pragmatic, and open-minded member who decides issues based on facts and data, not ideology,” Grande said. “He has shown his leadership in addressing concerns relating to international insurance standards and puts the interests of his constituents ahead of party politics, which is not easy and certainly not something every member of Congress would do.”
Grande noted the long history of state-based insurance regulation in the U.S. and praised the two lawmakers for keeping support for the state system above the partisan fray. “The U.S. state-based system of insurance regulation has worked for Americans since our nation’s founding,” Grande said. “Representatives Duffy and Heck putting politics aside and working together to defend and preserve the U.S. state-based insurance regulatory system would make Benjamin Franklin, the founding father of the mutual insurance industry and namesake of NAMIC’s Federal Legislator of the Year award, proud.”
Duffy and Heck recently introduced legislation that would bar U.S. negotiators from accepting or agreeing to international standards or covered agreements inconsistent with current U.S. regulations and laws and would require greater involvement of state regulators in international negotiations. Additionally, the proposal would require more extensive consultation with Congress during negotiations and subject international insurance agreements to congressional review.
Each year, NAMIC selects a federal lawmaker who has been a leader on the issues of great importance to the insurance industry as Legislator of the Year. The award bears the likeness of Ben Franklin, one of the nation’s founding fathers who in 1752 established a mutual insurance company that continues to serve policyholders to this day and is a NAMIC member.