Albert R. “Skip” Counselman, a past chairman of The Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, today told a House Financial Services subcommittee that progress in streamlining the agent and broker licensing system has picked up over the past several months, but there is still a need for the states to go farther in reforming the system.
Counselman, who is president and CEO of Riggs, Counselman, Michaels & Downes in Baltimore, MD, testified today before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises, which is chaired by Rep. Richard Baker (R-LA). Counselman thanked Chairman Baker, Rep. Sue Kelly (R-NY), and Financial Services Chairman Mike Oxley (R-OH) for their support of the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers (NARAB) provisions of the 1990 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA).
Counselman stated that NARAB was a true provision of modernization in GLBA and was a successful model for ways in which the subcommittee could dramatically improve insurance regulation “without turning the system on its head or casually accepting the status quo.”
Counselman told the subcommittee NARAB has helped the states move forward to reform agent and broker licensing laws. He also expressed his concern that some large states have not yet enacted the licensing reforms necessary to avert the creation of NARAB.
Stressed the need for states to continue to make progress in the area of licensing reform, Counselman expressed the CIAB’s belief that increased uniformity of licensing laws is key to full acceptance of nonresident licensing reciprocity, which is whi the council has consistently supported states’ enactment of the NAIC’s Producer Licensing Model Act.
Counselman also told the committee that states must address any remaining barriers to the efficient operation of agents and brokers on an interstate level, like countersignature statutes. Countersignature statutes require a resident state agent to countersign any policy written by an out-of-state agent, and for the countersigning agent to receive up to half of the commission or fee income without having added value to the transaction.
Concluding his testimony, Counselman said the council believes it is appropriate for the subcommittee “to take additional measures to assure that all licensing jurisdictions – representing 100 percent of premium volume – have uniform, consistent and high professional standards for agent/broker licensing, and to ensure that any remaining protectionist barriers are eliminated.”
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