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U.S. House Subcommittee Reviews Insurance Regulatory Standards

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Oct. 6, 2015—The U.S. Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance under the U.S. House Financial Services Committee held a hearing titled The Impact of Domestic Regulatory Standards on the U.S. Insurance Market. The hearing’s purpose was to address the effects of international Insurance standards on the domestic markets, coordination of state and federal regulation, and accessibility issues for individuals.

The single panel of witnesses included:

  • Michael McRaith, director, Federal Insurance Office (FIO), U.S. Department of the Treasury
  • Tom Sullivan, senior adviser, Department of Banking Supervision and Regulation, Federal Reserve Board of Governors
  • John Huff, director, Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration, representing the National Association of Insurance Commissioners
  • The Hon. S. Roy Woodall Jr., independent member, Financial Stability Oversight Council, U.S. Department of the Treasury

Throughout the hearing, a recurring question was the issue of insurance affordability, particularly for low-income communities. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) raised a point about the auto industry, asking McRaith why the FIO has focused its attention on auto insurance. McRaith explained the FIO’s responsibility to monitor affordability and access on automotive insurance, citing several studies that link automobile ownership to greater economic opportunity. McRaith said that cost drivers vary from state to state, which is why state regulators are often in a better position to use state-specific regulatory tools.

“Our nation enjoys the most robust, policyholder-centric insurance system in the world … It is essential that changes made to the regulatory landscape be done appropriately and in response to issues that pose risk to policyholders,” said Rep. Blaine Leutkemeyer (R-Mo.) subcommittee chairman.

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