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P/C Industry Urges Senate to Reject Repeal of Antitrust Exemption

Source: Business Insurance

Posted on 14 May 2010

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Property/casualty groups representing insurers and other financial services companies have urged the U.S. Senate to reject an attempt to strip health insurers of their limited immunity from federal antitrust law.

An amendment offered by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., to the financial services regulatory reform bill, which is before the Senate, targets only the McCarran-Ferguson Act's antitrust exemption for health insurers.

But in a letter that the property/casualty insurers and financial services associations sent to senators Thursday, the groups said the proposal's “flawed language and lack of definitions are a bad precedent for repealing the antitrust exemption for any line of insurance.”

The letter calls the McCarran-Ferguson Act “crucial to market-based competition in the property/ casualty market.” Repealing the limited antitrust exemption would inhibit rather than encourage competition among insurers, the groups said. The letter also says language dealing with health care does not belong in financial services regulatory reform legislation.

The letter was signed by the American Insurance Assn., the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, the Financial Services Roundtable, the Independent Agents & Brokers of America, the National Assn. of Insurance and Financial Advisors, the National Assn. of Mutual Insurance Cos., the National Assn. of Professional Insurance Agents, the Physician Insurers Assn. of America, the Property Casualty Insurers Assn. of America and the Reinsurance Assn. of America.