Legislative Spotlight

JuLy 2013 • Vol. 5, Issue 7

LEGISLATIVE SPOTLIGHT is produced by NAIFA and is supplied to the Society of Financial Service Professionals as a collaborative effort that seeks to raise federal and state regulatory awareness for financial service professionals. The essential purpose is to facilitate understanding and a more fruitful dialogue with constituents and/or clients with regard to these important issues.

Speaking as one, we can and will make a difference.

Comments on Legislative Spotlight: Contact Ron Panneton with comments or suggestions concerning this newsletter.

Agent Licensing Bill Passes Key Senate Committee

On June 6, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs passed by unanimous consent S. 534, the National Association of Registered Agents & Brokers reform Act of 2013, commonly referred to as “NARAB II”. This vote, hailed as a long-fought victory by NAIFA, may clear the way for final passage in the Senate.

The legislation establishes a voluntary, national clearinghouse that allows insurance agents and brokers to apply for membership. All applicants must complete a federal criminal background check. Approve NARAB members will be subject to one set of licensing and continuing education rules for all of their non-resident licenses. NARAB will be governed by a Board of Directors that would establish a strict set of licensing and continuing education standards, which must meet or exceed existing standards in every state.

NAIFA and other advocates have worked for the establishment of NARAB for fourteen years. If enacted into law, NARAB will solve the cumbersome, duplicative multi-state registration process. NARAB has passed the House twice before, but never the Senate. This bill allows agents who are registered in more than one state to spend less time filling out registration and compliance paperwork, saving them time and money to that they can better serve their clients.

NAIFA is working closely with the appropriate Senators and their staff to get a date set for full Senate consideration, which is expected to take place quickly. NARAB also has a companion bill in the House of Representatives, which NAIFA expects will pass the House this summer.

Why It Matters: By easing the process of interstate sales, agents will have expanded business opportunities. NAIFA members and other producers will also have an easier time retaining clients who move to another state.

To Learn More: Contact Jill Hoffman at jhoffman@naifa.org.

Legislation to Fix Medical Loss Ratio Reintroduced in House

Several weeks ago, Representatives Mike Rogers (R-MI) and John Barrow (D-GA) reintroduced H.R. 2328, the Access to Professional Health Insurance Advisors Act of 2013. The legislation removes agent and broker compensation from the 85 percent Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) for large groups and 80 percent MLR for small groups and individual policy provisions in the Affordable Care Act. NAIFA supports removing agent compensation from the new MLR provisions, as they impede the ability of agents to assist customers, provide advice, and combat fraud. The changes in MLR policy are also expected to drive up premium costs for consumers.

Last November, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the primary health care committee in the House, approved a prior version of the bill, though it was unable to secure a vote in the full House or Senate before the session ended. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) introduced a companion bill to Representative Roger’s legislation in the Senate back in March.

Why It Matters:  Removing agent compensation from the new MLR provisions would improve the ability of agents to provide customers with assistance and advice. The removal would also improve regulators ability to combat fraud and the customer’s ability to pay the premiums for needed health insurance coverage.

To Learn More: Contact Kyle Kunkler at kkunkler@naifa.org.

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