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Insurance Industry Asks for Delay on Tighter Supervision

Source: Down Jones - Jeffrey Sparshott

Posted on 10 Feb 2011

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Major U.S. insurers on Wednesday asked top financial regulators to delay actions that would bring them under tighter supervision.

The Financial Stability Oversight Council, charged with preventing a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis, last month approved a proposed rule that would bring stricter oversight to the largest, most interconnected and highly leveraged companies--including insurers, hedge funds and other nonbank financial companies.

"We request that the council delay final action on its Proposed Rule at this time," the American Council of Life Insurers, American Insurance Association and Reinsurance Association of America said in a letter Wednesday to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

The insurers said that the proposed rule didn't provide guidance on standards that the council would apply when determining which companies warrant closer supervision.

And the groups complained that the council had not yet seated two members meant to have insurance industry expertise.

"We strongly believe that it would be contrary to Congressional intent and do a disservice to the council and to the insurance industry for the council to proceed without the full complement of members who are able to provide critical input to the council and participate in the council's important decisions that will affect the insurance industry long into the future," the letter said.

The Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law, passed last year, mandates supervision of nonbank financial institutions.