CIAB: End Global Trade Barriers

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NU Online News Service, Sept. 18, 11:11 a.m.EST?The president of a U.S.-based insurance brokersassociation is urging the international community to drop tradebarriers impeding brokerage firms and to open up their insurancemarkets.

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Ken Crerar, president of Washington, D.C.-based Council ofInsurance Agents & Brokers, who conceded that trade reforms areneeded at home, made his remarks during the 18th annual ProgresInternational Seminar in Geneva, Switzerland.

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The meeting was sponsored by the Geneva Association, aninternational insurance research group.

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According to a news release from CIAB, Mr. Crerar told attendeesthat lowering trade barriers to provide greater market access andputting more liberal trade rules in place are critical to creatinga level international playing field for all agents and brokers.

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He said the World Federation of Insurance Intermediaries,representing brokers internationally, is unified in its commitmentto achieving a competitive global marketplace.

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The group, he said, is pressing for three improvements in traderules in the General Agreement on Trade in Services discussionstaking place in conjunction with the Doha Round of internationaltrade talks. Those objectives are:

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? Removal of restrictions on the right of establishment forbrokerage firms.

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? Approval of cross-border placement for Marine, Aviation andTransportation insurance and reinsurance.

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? An agreement that would allow brokers to freely provideinsurance products and services to clients.

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In return for seeing a competitive marketplace, WFII would beprepared to work harder for sound regulation of the globalinsurance industry.

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Mr. Crerar said among the initiatives favored by the group are anew policy setting insurance company solvency as a priority issuefor the organization and the endorsement of minimum standards forregulating intermediaries and ensuring consumer protections.

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He said WFII also has joined with other industry organizationsto support the Financial Leaders Group's Model Schedule ofcommitments for insurance.

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The Model spells out the necessary ingredients for acompetitive, open and well-regulated insurance market in anycountry. Trade officials have been asked to incorporate thoseprinciples into their commitments.

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Mr. Crerar said that in pressing for global tradeliberalization, the WFII and CIAB are acutely aware of the need formajor reforms in the U.S. marketplace. He called state regulation"a barrier to domestic and international trade."

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The association, Mr. Crerar said, would continue to press for anoptional federal charter for insurance agents and brokers. He urgedinternational insurers to add their voices to the debate.

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"In today's global marketplace, it is difficult to defend astate-based system," he told the Geneva Association.

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Mr. Crerar delivered his remarks, CIAB said, on Sept. 13, onbehalf of both the WFII, founded in 1999 to represent theinternational interests of brokers, and CIAB, which representsbrokers and agents in the U.S.

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