Neil Wolin, Deputy Treasury Secretary, recently addressed the status of the Federal Insurance Office, or FIO, at a recent conference sponsored by the FIO.
Mr. Wolin noted that before the Dodd-Frank Act was passed, the Federal government had no central repository for comprehensive insurance expertise. He also added that “Dodd-Frank fixed this glaring omission so that, through FIO, we will have the institutional capability to develop and coordinate insurance policy at the federal level more effectively than in the past.”
Mr. Wolin said the office is responsible for, among other things:
• Monitoring the insurance industry, identifying gaps in regulation, and participating in the Financial Stability Oversight Council – all to help ensure stability in the insurance industry and the broader financial system;
• Developing and coordinating federal policy on prudential aspects of international insurance matters;
• Evaluating the accessibility and affordability of insurance products for low- and middle-income Americans; and
• Advising the Secretary of the Treasury on insurance issues.
Mr. Wolin made clear that regulating the insurance industry is not one of FIO’s responsibilities. Nothing in the Dodd-Frank Act alters the fact that insurance is fundamentally regulated by the states.
As to activities of the FIO, Mr. Wolin spoke about:
- FIO recently became a full member of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), which is currently working to designate globally significant insurers and develop a framework for supervising of internationally active insurance groups.
- FIO’s advisory body, the Federal Advisory Committee on Insurance, has also been established. Last month, FIO announced the appointment of 15 insurance experts.
- FIO will report to Congress in January 2012 on how to improve and modernize the United States’ system of insurance regulation.
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