Group Urges Legislators to Reintroduce Surplus Lines Reform Bill

January 31, 2007

National Association Professional Surplus Lines Offices is urging members of the House Financial Services Committee and Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs to enact the surplus lines and reinsurance reform bill introduced in the last Congress. The bill was passed 417-0 last September by the House, but died in the Senate.

In an open letter to members of both Committees, NAPSLO Executive Director Richard Bouhan said NAPSLO’s “top legislative priority in this Congress is the enactment of the Nonadmitted and Reinsurance Reform Act of 2006” (H.R. 5637 in the last session) and that “NAPSLO stands ready to do whatever is necessary to pass that legislation, again, in the House and, hopefully, in the Senate as well.”

“We hope to see a version of the bill reintroduced in February,” Bouhan said. “The bill is a very good piece of insurance legislation and would increase consumer access to the surplus lines market and assist in expanding insurance availability nationwide.”

Over the past two months, NAPSLO representatives have met with top staff for House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., Ranking Member Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises Chairman Paul Kanjorski, D-Penn., and most Democratic and Republican members of the Subcommittee to urge the bill’s reintroduction and passage.

Last year H.R. 5637 was introduced by Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Kan., and Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla., and, if approved, would have streamlined the regulation of surplus lines insurance and reinsurance. It was adopted by Financial Services Committee in July and approved overwhelmingly by the full House in September.

NAPSLO believes such legislation would simplify the regulation of the excess and surplus lines industry and assist consumers, particularly in the storm ravaged sections of the nation, by making property/casualty insurance coverage more plentiful, said Maria Berthoud of B&D Consulting, NAPSLO’s Washington, D.C.-based lobbyist.

Bouhan testified before the Financial Services Committee in June 2006 noting that many of the bill’s provisions, including the creation of a uniform system of premium tax allocation and remittance, one-state compliance on multi-state surplus lines risks, and direct access to the surplus lines market for sophisticated purchasers are concepts long endorsed by NAPSLO and were needed marketplace reforms.

“We believe that enactment of this legislation will significantly increase the level of efficiency for those using the surplus lines market, particularly when coverage is located in multiple jurisdictions. It will help everyone involved in the surplus lines market from the companies down to the consumers,” Bouhan said

Source: NAPSLO

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