Associations Weigh In on Election: Status Quo Prevails as Industry Looks Forward

In the wake of the election, property and casualty insurance-industry officials promised to work constructively with President Obama, his administration and Congress “to protect and advance” industry interests over the next four years.

Several also noted upcoming industry priorities, including extension of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act and adequate funding of the National Flood Insurance Program.

They also voiced concern about the makeup of the key House Financial Services Committee, which, as the Property and Casualty Insurers Association of America noted, “will look a lot different in 2013.”

PCI officials said that six members of the committee were already leaving due to redistricting, retirements or losing primaries, and at least five more went down Tuesday night, which means roughly 18 percent, or 11 of the 61-member committee, won't be back.

These include Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Ill., chair of the Insurance Subcommittee, who was defeated in her bid for re-election. The Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, the American Insurance Association and other groups also noted concern with Biggert’s loss.

“The insurance industry did lose a true champion when Insurance Subcommittee Chair Judy Biggert lost her race in Illinois, and she will be sorely missed,” says Charles Symington, IIABA senior vice president of government affairs.

AIA spokesman Willem Rijksen adds, “No longer having Rep. Biggert’s knowledge and support on insurance issues will no doubt be a loss but we remain well positioned on that committee.”

 

STATUS QUO

At the same time, Joel Wood, senior vice president of government affairs for the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, says, “For all of the profound national (and international) consequences of this election, the central truth remains that the status quo has been upheld, for better or for worse,”

He adds, “Historically, property and casualty issues haven’t been partisan; we don’t expect that to change.”

Wood notes, “Looking at the incoming Congress, there’s absolutely no reason to believe that we won’t be able to represent the interests of Council member firms in a very positive way.”

Jimi Grande, senior vice president, federal and political affairs for the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, says, “The elections have made it clear that for Congress to accomplish anything, both parties must work together.”

Grande says there will be “a lot of new faces in Washington, with a new Congress coming in, new chairmen taking the gavels for key committees in the House and Senate, and important changes in top positions within the administration.”

 

INDUSTRY INITIATIVES

For NAMIC, Grande says, “We will continue to press for a reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act and to fight off new taxes and regulations that threaten our industry and policyholders.”

Leigh Ann Pusey, president and CEO of the American Insurance Association, says, “The 2012 election is now behind us, but important issues lie ahead. Congress and the president must work together in a bipartisan manner to address fiscal cliff issues and bring much needed certainty and sustained growth to our nation’s economy.

“AIA will continue to work with the Obama Administration on issues concerning Dodd-Frank Act (DFA) implementation. AIA maintains the position that property-casualty insurers engaged in regulated insurance activities do not pose a threat to financial stability and should not be regulated like banks.”

She adds, “It is imperative that DFA implementation follows congressional intent by addressing gaps while not obstructing competitiveness.”

In its statement, AIA also noted that global and domestic regulatory and capital issues will be big going forward.

 “AIA continues to engage in all phases of the ongoing regulatory modernization debate in the U.S. and abroad.  This discussion remains centered on group supervision, capital adequacy and systemic risk,” Pusey said.

She said the AIA will work with the Federal Insurance Office to promote international regulatory initiatives that foster coordination, cooperation, and communication, and ultimately result in more efficient and effective regulation that promotes a level competitive playing field and development of private markets.

She added that a top legislative priority for AIA in 2013 will be the reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA). 

“TRIA is a fundamental part of this nation’s economic security,” Pusey said.

Andrew C. Harris, president of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents, says PIA “looks forward to continuing to work with [Obama’s] administration and Congress to protect and advance the interests of small businesses, professional insurance agents and the consumers they serve.”

He says PIA will continue to work to ensure that the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act “will be done in a way that fully utilizes the expertise of professional insurance agents, which is the best way to serve the consumer.”

Harris adds, “While President Obama and Governor Romney campaigned on vastly different views of the role of the private market and regulation, PIA will continue our efforts in Washington to promote the valued role of the independent agent and will seek business-friendly policies that will encourage a strong market.”

 

THE STATES

PCI’s statement notes that, overall, Democrats improved their position in the states, taking over both chambers in Maine and Minnesota, flipping the New York Senate and the New Hampshire House, breaking a tie in the Oregon House, gaining supermajorities in Illinois and California, taking away a Republican supermajority in Florida.

PCI said that “Republicans flipped the Arkansas legislature for the first time since Reconstruction, and also made big gains in West Virginia.”

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