AIA: On FBI Probe, It Would be Grossly Unfair to Say Entire Industry is Troubled

May 6, 2005

The American Insurance Association (AIA) on Friday addressed a Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) probe of insurance entities in the U.S. and overseas.

“Any time an individual breaks the law, they should be punished accordingly,” stated Robert Vagley, AIA president. “However, it is very important to note that the insurance industry consists of hundreds of thousands of individuals who work diligently and honestly every day to serve the needs of policyholders. It would be grossly unfair to tar these hard-working individuals with a broad brush based on the isolated actions of a few bad actors.”

Property/casualty insurance provides essential economic security for millions of individuals, commercial enterprises and public sector entities. Insurance companies pump billions of dollars into state and local economies and critical infrastructure in the form of taxes, municipal bonds and other investments. The property/casualty marketplace is highly competitive, and U.S. insurance company business models and practices vary greatly. This competition and variety significantly benefits insurance consumers.

Vagley noted that it is very difficult for state insurance regulators to discern national patterns in the insurance marketplace, “whether those patterns relate to a particularly healthy segment of the market, or to market dysfunction.” For that reason, he added, “AIA has long supported a national insurance regulatory system with a federal regulator who could survey and track the U.S. marketplace, provide timely guidance to the industry and assert swifter action against those who abuse the public trust.”

“The business of insurance is based on good faith and trust; we and our member companies are committed to upholding those principles every day,” concluded Vagley.

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