FIO Advisors to Meet March 30 as Treasury Keeps Overdue Report Close to Vest

NU Online News Service, March 13, 12:09 p.m. EDT

Hark! The first meeting of the Federal Advisory Committee on Insurance (FACI) has been scheduled at the U.S.Treasury Department, even as industry participants, consumer groups, state regulators and perhaps Congress anxiously await the report to Congress from Treasury’s Federal Office of Insurance (FIO.)

The open meeting will convene March 30th at 1 pm, in the Cash Room, at Treasury, about five months after the advisors were named.

Although the FIO report on how to modernize and improve insurance regulation is said to be close to being finished, it likely will not be released this week, or even next, according to sources. The much-anticipated report will be seen by many as a bellwether for the future developments of the complicated relationship between federal and state-based insurance regulation.

Whether the report is finally out by March 30th is an open question, but National Underwriter is awaiting confirmation that FIO Director Michael McRaith, has cancelled delivery of the keynote address at Indiana State University's 8th annual Networks Financial Institute’s Insurance Reform Summit in Washington, D.C. on March 21, next week, because the report will not be ready by then.

However, the FACI members are people with outside insurance sector jobs who are designated to provide advice to FIO, which was established as part of the Dodd-Frank financial services reform law, on issues related to the responsibilities of the office. 

McRaith stated when he announced their names Nov. 2, “These individuals have tremendous knowledge about the insurance industry and a wide cross-section of experience.”

He said he was pleased “that they will be offering their valuable expertise as the [FIO] continues moving forward with its critical work.”

According to the notice in the Federal Register, the March 30th event's discussion topic range appears open-ended, but will likely concern the FIO report, or at least work done thus far on it. 

“The Committee will discuss topics of interest to the Committee and the work of the Committee in relation to any topic of interest or focus. The Committee will also receive a report on the work to date of the [FIO],” the Treasury notice stated.

The 15 or so FACI members include Birny Birnbaum, consumer advocate economist and executive director of the Center for Economic Justice, and Scott E. Harrington, professor in the Health Care Management and Insurance and Risk Management departments at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Regulatory members include:

  • Benjamin Lawsky, New York superintendent of Financial Services
  • Thomas Leonardi, Connecticut commissioner
  • Michael Consedine, Pennsylvania commissioner
  • Jacqueline Cunningham, Virginia commissioner
  • Bill White, District of Columbia commissioner
  • Monica Lindeen, Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance and State Auditor Theresa Miller, former administrator of the Oregon Insurance Division had been named, but she is now with the Department of Health and Human Services, helping coordinate health care reform implement with the states. It is unclear if she has been replaced.

Industry representatives include:

  • Michael  Sproule, executive vice president and chief financial officer of New York Life
  • Christopher Mansfield, senior vice president and general counsel of Liberty Mutual Group
  • John Degnan, senior advisor to the CEO of the Chubb Corporation
  • Brian Duperreault, president and CEO of the Marsh & McLennan Companies
  • Loretta Fuller, CEO of Insurance Solutions Associates in Landover, Md.

Sean McGovern, a director and general counsel of Lloyd’s North America, is the international representative on the panel.

Treasury is taking public comments for the meeting. 

Those wishing to comment on the business of FIO can submit written statements using Treasury's Internet designated official by emailing james.brown@treasury.gov.  

Arthur D. Postal contributed material to this report.

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