This week, members of the PIA of Arkansas met with the offices of their congressional delegation as part of PIA’s 2022 Advocacy Day. In their meetings, PIA of Arkansas drew lawmakers’ attention to PIA’s 2022 Issues of Focus, focusing on the dangers of federal regulatory overreach into the insurance industry and emphasized the need to repeal the Federal Insurance Office (FIO). Members also discussed the needed reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program.
PIA supports legislation, sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Reps. Ben Cline (R-VA) and Tom Tiffany (R-WI), to repeal the FIO (S. 524/H.R. 4866). The FIO was created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and is an ongoing threat to the successful state insurance regulatory system.
In their meetings, PIA of Arkansas members noted that many of FIO’s duties are duplicative of oversight that already exists in our state-based insurance regulatory system. They highlighted our concern that, just last year, the FIO’s mandate was expanded by the Biden administration’s Executive Order (EO) on Climate-Related Financial Risk, which directed the Treasury Secretary to task the FIO with assessing “climate-related issues or gaps in the supervision and regulation of insurers.” That EO opened the door to yet another issue for the FIO to involve itself in, and, late last year, FIO issued a Request for Information on climate-related insurance risk.
In addition, the members of PIA Arkansas noted that the climate issue is just the latest in a long history of FIO attempts to increase its power. In 2017, the House passed a bill that would have created a new office of the “independent insurance advocate,” which would have substantially increased the size and scope of the FIO by permitting it to hire an expansive professional staff, giving it a Senate-confirmable director, allowing it to issue regulations, and granting it a line item in the federal budget. Thankfully, the bill never gained advanced in the Senate, but its House passage serves as a warning sign that, if Congress allows the FIO to continue to exist, it will inevitably increase in size and power.
Their efforts this week were part of PIA’s new series of year-round, state-specific advocacy events that are offering agents the chance to meet with federal policymakers on the issues that matter most to them. Throughout the year, PIA members from across the country will spend their 2022 Advocacy Days engaging with lawmakers on PIA’s current Issues of Focus.