Big “I” Questions McCarran-Ferguson Repeal Efforts

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 22, 2017—The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) today expresses concern over the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of H.R. 372, the “Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017,” by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Arizona). H.R. 372 would repeal the limited antitrust exemption for health insurers established by the McCarran-Ferguson Act.

“Passage of H.R. 372 could led to a slippery slope for non-health lines of insurance such as property and casualty insurance, and life insurance,” says Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO. “H.R. 372 seeks to repeal the limited antitrust exemption for health insurers, but there’s an inherent problem with the bill because if the exemption is rolled back for one line of insurance, why not others?”

Pursuant to McCarran-Ferguson, state regulated insurance companies hold a limited exemption from federal antitrust laws. One of the main benefits of the exemption is that it allows insurers to share information on insurance losses so that the insurance industry can better project future losses and charge actuarially based prices for their products. The ability to pool data actually serves to increase market competition by giving small insurers access to large data sets that are needed to appropriately rate insurance products.

“The Big ‘I’ strongly supports state insurance regulation and the limited antitrust exemption for the insurance industry under the McCarran-Ferguson Act,” says Charles Symington, Big “I” senior vice president for external and government affairs. “The exemption is vital to the competitiveness of state property and casualty insurance markets, and the Big ‘I’ will continue to be vigilant in reminding Congress of this key point.”

Founded in 1896, the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of approximately a quarter of a million agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com

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