PIA National — FIO Reform Bill Passes House Financial Services Committee

Since it was formed under the Wall Street Reforming, Dodd-Frank Act, PIA National has been a constant critic of the Federal Insurance Office (FIO). The PIA says insurance is regulated by the states and the federal government has no jurisdiction over insurance.

The latest battle between the FIO, the PIA and the insurance industry has to do with data collection. In October of 2022, and as part of the Biden administration’s goal to attack climate change, the FIO ordered insurers to cough up information related to climate.

The goal — the FIO said — is to determine the impact of climate disaster on consumers.

No. That was the immediate answer from insurers, and its response to the FIO’s belief that it would — and could — subpoena those facts if insurers refused to comply.

In response, Republican Rep. Scott Fitzgerald of Wisconsin introduced the Insurance Data Protection Act. The bill is designed to stop the FIO from collecting that information and does away with any power the FIO has to collect it via a subpoena.

It also forces the FIO to coordinate any data gathering from insurers with the state regulators in each state. Fitzgerald’s bill also sets up confidentiality requirements to make sure any data that is eventually gathered from carriers stays with the FIO.

Last week the House Financial Services Committee voted to pass that bill onto the full House.

PIA National Chief of Public Affairs and Advocacy Officer, Jon Gentile said this is an important protection for insurers — and ultimately — consumers.

“The House Financial Services Committee’s passage of the Insurance Data Protection Act is a common sense measure to protect the state regulation of insurance and counteract the FIO’s attempts to  increase its mandate,” Gentile said.

PIA National Manager of Government Relations Corey Weeks agrees.

“This legislation would limit the burden on insurers of duplicative data collection by the FIO and protect the primacy of the state regulation of insurance by ensuring the consultation of state insurance regulators in federal data collection efforts,” Corey said.

The bill passing along party lines did not surprise Fitzgerald.

“State regulators have a unique understanding of the challenges of risk that face their respective states regarding climate,” Fitzgerald said. “Their experience and knowledge in this space is much more valuable in assessing climate risk than that of bureaucrats in Washington. The mere threat of a subpoena incentivizes the insurance office to go around the states by issuing overly broad data calls that may not adequately protect consumer information.”

Jimi Grande of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) says his organization totally supports the stance of the PIA and of Fitzgerald.

“Insurance is regulated appropriately at the state level. Yet FIO maintains its subpoena authority for work that would be overreaching and outside the office’s scope. There’s just no need for it, and when they get political pressure to overreach and duplicate state efforts it costs time and money.”

Source link: PIA National — https://bit.ly/4bqCIM3

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About PIA Western Alliance

The Professional Insurance Agents Western Alliance is a membership organization promoting and enhancing the success of independent agencies seeking to grow, learn and be heard within the industry.


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