San Francisco--Surplus lines insurers could see one of their keymarket advantages undermined if federal lawmakers decide toauthorize an optional federal charter rather than simply setregulatory benchmarks for each state to follow, an industrylobbyist warned here.

With the looming prospect of federal legislation that wouldseverely impact its members, the National Association ofProfessional Surplus Lines Offices, Ltd., hired a former lobbyistfor the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America torepresent NAPSLO's interest in Washington earlier this year.

According to that lobbyist--Maria Berthoud, vice president ofB&D Sagamore, a subsidiary of the Washington-based law firmBaker & Daniels--one of the first items on the agenda of theSenate Banking Committee in 2006 could significantly change theplaying field for the surplus lines industry.

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