CUNA Mutual Eyes FederalCharter

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WASHINGTON - (05/27/05) -- CUNA Mutual Group has joined a groupof national insurance companies lobbying Congress to create afederal regulatory structure and charter for insurers, who are nowgoverned by 50 different state regulatory systems. "The burden ofhaving to comply with rules from 56 separate (the states and U.S.territories) insurance regulators is too inefficient for companies,agents and consumers to manage, especially those whose interestsare national in scope," says a letter the group plans to send tocongressional leaders next week. Other members of the group arePrudential, Northwestern Mutual Life and New York Life InsuranceCo. Larry Blanchard, chief lobbyist for CUNA Mutual, said theeffort to create a national framework for insurance regulations issomething that has been going on for years but has gained momentumsince 9/11 when differences between individual states' insurancesystems came to light. "There are no standards from state-to-state.We deal in all 50 states; we have legal staffs in all 50 states. Asingle regulator would bring some efficiencies and bring ratesdown," Blanchard told The Credit Union Journal. "For companies likeus who deal in every state, it's a challenge, and very costly."Blanchard said they hope to work towards creation of a dualchartering system, like the one enjoyed by credit unions and banks,giving them the choice between a national charter or a statecharter. Legislation is currently being drafted that would repealthe 1945 McCarron-Ferguson Act which set up the state-by-stateregulatory system for insurers.

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