IIAA Updates Congress on Licensing Reform Activity

May 17, 2001

Spurred by the prospect of the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers (NARAB), states are on target to surpass the 29-state threshold before the end of this year and forestall the quasi-federal agency’s creation, Independent Insurance Agents of America (IIAA) spokesman Ronald A. Smith, CPCU told a congressional hearing today.

Smith, president of Rochester, Ind.-based Smith, Sawyer & Smith, Inc., testified during a hearing focusing on the states’ efforts to enact licensing reform. The hearing was held in the Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee chaired by Rep. Richard Baker (R-La.).

Under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), 29 states are required to enact licensing reform by November 2002. NARAB would be created if this goal were not met by the states.

To date, 22 states have enacted reforms that achieve reciprocity and significant uniformity. Nine additional states have passed licensing reform bills through both chambers of their legislatures; each of these bills is expected to soon become law. Many other states are currently considering licensing reform bills that are at various stages of the legislative process. Bills in three additional states have already passed through one legislative chamber.

Smith told the committee that most of the remaining states, including the largest, have legislative sessions that continue on an ongoing basis. These states include New York, California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

IIAA will keep pressure on the states to enact “national reform” even though it’s likely that NARAB will not be established, Smith told the panel.

By enacting the NARAB provisions of the GLBA, Congress took affirmative steps to ensure that insurance agents and brokers would finally have access to a streamlined and functional multi-state licensing mechanism. While IIAA has consistently argued that the states were up to the challenge, the Association is extremely pleased with the results of the legislative activity that has occurred in the last six months.

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