Big “I” Association Praises Senate and House Reintroduction of NARAB II
A bi-partisan coalition in Congress has introduced a new Bill aiming to create a more streamlined licensing process for non-resident insurance agents and brokers across the U.S. The legislation recently reintroduced into Congress is entitled the “National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers Reform Act of 2013” or more simply put NARAB II.
If passed, NARAB II would establish a new non-profit entity charged with the responsibility of streamlining the non-resident market access for insurance agents and producers across the country. The new entity would be restricted to this purpose only, however, and is not the creation of a federal insurance regulator. States will continue to regulate consumer protection, market conduct and unfair trade practices as well as the regulations and enforcement of state licensing requirements. In addition, insurance producers will not be required to NARAB II, membership will only be a voluntary option for streamlining their access to nonresident markets.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has offered its support for the Senate version of the Bill, but not for the House version. It believes the Senate version”…more clearly preserves state authority and consumer protection. And in a marked departure from its normal opposition to any federal regulation of insurance, The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”) has also decided to throw its support behind NARAB II. In making its announce, the Big “I” says that NARAB II, unlike other types of proposed legislation at the Federal level, will help modernize state regulation by targeting its reform on the process related to marketplace entry and not the day-to-day aspects of insurance regulation regulated by the states.
“NARAB II is critical for the tens of thousands of Big “I” members who operate on a multi-state basis,” explains Robert A. Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO. “By providing a mechanism for establishing true nonresident licensing reciprocity, this legislation would improve licensing while ensuring that states retain the authority to regulate marketplace activity and enforce important consumer protection laws. As our members come to Washington, D.C. next month for our annual Legislative Conference, they will be meeting with members of Congress to urge them to support NARAB II.”
Reasons Why Both the Big “I” and the NAIC Support NARAB II
The following is a list of reasons both the Big “I” and the NAIC have cited as why they support NARAB II as it makes its way through Congress:
- The Bill would build upon regulatory experience at the state level only;
- It will promote consistency in agent and agency licensing across the country;
- It will improve market responsiveness;
- It will streamline the non-resident insurance agent and broker licensing process;
- It will not interfere with state insurance regulations nor state consumer protection laws;
- It will promote reciprocity in producer licensing;
- It would promote greater competition among agents and brokers resulting in offerings for policyholders.
While NARAB II is currently pending before both Houses of Congress, it previously passed the full House in two prior Congresses by a voice-only vote. The Big “I” says that the legislation currently enjoys strong bipartisan and bicameral support in the 112th Congress.