As we noted last week, the House recently passed its Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill, which included several troubling directives to the Federal Insurance Office (FIO). The bill would have directed the FIO to gather data on property damage exclusions in homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies, examine the impact on the auto insurance market of non-driving related characteristics, and deepened its exploration of climate-related insurance risk. While report language is not necessarily binding, it is used to explain the intent of Congress for the use of funds in appropriations bills and can influence the actions of federal agencies.
PIA has been working with congressional allies to reject these directives. This week, the Senate released its FY23 appropriations bills, including the bill appropriating funds for Financial Services. We’re pleased to report that, thanks to the support of several senate offices, particularly that of John Boozman (R-AR), a member of the relevant appropriations subcommittee, the FIO directives included in the House bill were excluded from the Senate bill, despite intense pressure from the majority.
The FY23 appropriations process is ongoing, and so is the threat of expansive FIO directives. Members could offer amendments including the FIO directives as Congress continues to work toward consensus on funding the federal government for FY23. The proponents of this language will have several opportunities in the coming months to add it back in. For now, though, this is a crucial victory in the effort to prevent further overreach of FIO’s mandate. If this language had been included in both the House and Senate appropriations bills, it would have been all the more difficult to exclude it from a final funding measure.
Regulation of the insurance industry is properly done by the state insurance departments, which have aided in protecting consumers for over 150 years. For the past several years, PIA has sought the repeal of the FIO and led the effort to pass legislation to fully abolish the office. The best way to defend the state insurance regulatory system is to repeal the FIO.
PIA asks members to visit our grassroots page here, and send a message to your House member and Senators urging them to cosponsor the existing bills to repeal the FIO.