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Efforts Begin to Pass NARAB II

Posted on 22 May 2009

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Across the country, organizations representing insurance producers are gearing up for the second round of the agent licensing reciprocity debate.

On Thursday Rep. David Scott (D-GA), and Rep. Geoff Davis, (R-KY) introduced in the House the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers Reform Act 2009 (H.R. 5611), legislation that would establish NARAB as a nonprofit organization that provides multi-state licensing, continuing education and other insurance producer qualification needs, without creating a federal regulator.

“This legislation is a great example of a way Congress can have a targeted role in helping to streamline and modernize the current insurance regulatory system,” said Marliss McManus, NAMIC’s senior federal affairs director, in response to the bill's re-introduction. “It simplifies the system for insurance agents and brokers to become licensed across state lines – giving consumers more insurance alternatives.”

Introduced initially by Representatives Scott and Davis in March 2008, H.R. 5611 passed the House by voice vote in September. Such relatively quick passage and bipartisan support should boost its chances in the new Congress, said Charles Symington, senior vice president of government affairs for the Big I--the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, representing some 300,000 insurance offices nationwide.

It's important to have the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' support, said Bill Anderson, NAIFA's senior vice president of state government relations.

The NAIC operates an electronic system that facilitates multi-state licensing and appointments, and functions as an alternative to the proposed federal NARAB. The National Insurance Producer Registry, a non-profit arm, tracks ongoing licensing changes from state to state, often a daunting task for producers.

The legislation would establish the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers through which one set of licensing, continuing education, and other insurance producer qualification standards could be adopted and applied on a multi-state basis. It would preserve the right of states to license, supervise, discipline, and establish licensing fees for insurance producers, as well as to prescribe and enforce laws and regulations with regard to insurance-related consumer protection and unfair trade practices.

“This proposal would create a system that would allow professionally licensed agents to easily offer their services across all jurisdictions without impacting the day-to-day regulation of insurance,” McManus said. “NAMIC will work with members of Congress to get this important legislation passed quickly.”