Lawmakers Hit Lack of State Legislators on Federal Insurance Panel

November 7, 2011

The National Conference of Insurance Legislators said its members are disappointed by the lack of state lawmakers in the makeup of the Federal Advisory Committee on Insurance (FACI).

Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department appointed 15 individuals to serve as members of the committee to offer advice to Treasury’s Federal Insurance Office. Members consist of seven state regulators, six business executives, one university professor and one consumer advocate. But no state legislators were appointed to the group.

NCOIL said the committee is missing a key perspective—that of a state lawmaker. The state lawmakers’ group issued a statement on Friday, Nov. 4, criticizing the lack of their representation.

Rep. George Keiser (N.D.), current NCOIL president, said, “I am disappointed in the FACI selection process. The committee is overrepresented by regulators at the expense of legislators.”

‘It Seems Odd’

“As legislators have the last word on insurance public policy, it seems odd that Treasury and the head of the Federal Insurance Office have neglected to include the vital presence of state legislators on FACI,” Rep. Bob Damron (Ky.), immediate past president of NCOIL, added.

NCOIL Past President Rep. Brian Kennedy (R.I.) remarked that his group is nonplussed that FACI composition does not acknowledge legislative expertise.

“NCOIL leaders have gone on record in support of the current NCOIL president as a FACI member. The fact that those determining membership have overlooked a leader of a key insurance legislative organization — an 18-year state legislative veteran and a long-term state insurance committee chair — is baffling.”

Legislators Play Key Role

“State legislators play a key role in submitting insurance legislation on behalf of the state insurance departments, and no insurance legislation would ever be adopted without state legislators performing their important role in the legislative process.”

Incoming NCOIL President Sen. Carroll Leavell (N.M.) went on to say, “I question the rationale of those who have chosen to ignore legislative experience in a group that is supposed to reflect national insurance expertise. This again raises concerns voiced by legislators that FIO may be subject to mission creep and could suggest a yet greater and unwarranted federal involvement in insurance.”

The Treasury Department announced the establishment of FACI in early May. FACI was passed to serve as an advisory committee to FIO, housed in Treasury. Members will serve two-year terms and are expected to meet regularly in Washington, D.C.

NCOIL is an organization of state legislators whose main area of public policy interest is insurance legislation and regulation. Most legislators active in NCOIL either chair or are members of the committees responsible for insurance legislation in their respective state houses across the country.

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