Today, insurance is the only major financial industry that is not formally regulated at the federal level-a tradition dating back to the 19th century. As the nation's insurance industry has become increasingly global in nature, many have begun to question whether the federal government should play a greater regulatory role in this market. The 2008 financial crisis, and the disputed role that U.S. insurers played in precipitating one of the world's worst economic downturns, has re-ignited this debate once more in Washington.
Lately, there has been a consensus that insurance industry regulation needs to be modernized in some fashion. Exactly who should regulate the insurance industry, however, has become a point of contention on Capitol Hill. In the aftermath of 2008, leaders of the major industrial nations agreed to hold the world's largest financial institutions accountable by strengthening the global financial regulatory framework. As a result, supporters of a federal regulatory system say that the United States needs a singular regulatory framework as contrasted with the existing multi-state system and would benefit from a single U.S. insurance voice at the international standard setting level. On the other hand, opponents of greater federal industry participation assert that it will increase prices and stymie domestic policy innovation. Instead, they say that improved regulation at the state level will allow insurers and local regulators to best manage the needs of their provincial customers while competing on a global scale.
What role should the federal government play in regulating the country's insurance industry? Should insurance be left to the states to oversee, or is a streamlined federal regulatory body necessary for proper industry oversight in today's globalized economy? And what are the international implications of this debate? Join National Journal for a policy summit to convene the nation's key opinion leaders for a robust discussion on insurance regulatory modernization, both home and abroad, in the 21st century.
Nancy Cook covers economic and domestic policy for National Journal and also serves as the lead writer for Next Economy, a joint project of the National Journal and The Atlantic. Prior to this, she covered economic and fiscal policy for National Journal for more than two years, leading the policy coverage of all of D.C.'s major budget battles. She's also worked as a senior editor at Fast Company and a staff writer at Newsweek, based in New York.
Robert Detlefsen is Vice President of Public Policy at the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC), an Indianapolis-based national trade association that represents more than 1,400 property-casualty insurance companies. In this role, Detlefsen conducts public policy research and analysis, and coordinates the development of NAMIC’s issue agenda and advocacy campaigns.
Detlefsen’s analyses and commentaries have appeared in scholarly journals, specialized insurance publications, and a variety of newspapers and magazines. He is the author of “Dual Insurance Chartering: Potential Consequences” in The Future of Insurance Regulation (Brookings Press, 2009) and author of Civil Rights Under Reagan (ICS Press, 1991). He currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Insurance Regulation, and has testified on numerous occasions before legislative and regulatory bodies.
Detlefsen holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.A. in political science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has served on the faculties of several colleges and universities, teaching courses in American government, constitutional law, and political theory.
With two decades of broad experience in Washington, DC, Tony Fratto has earned a reputation as a trusted and authoritative voice on economic, legal, political and public policy issues.
Tony is an on-air contributor with the CNBC Business News Network addressing current economic policy issues, and his columns can be found on CNBC.com. He is also a member of the Center for Global Development’s Partners Council.
After serving as Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Treasury Department, Tony moved to the White House in September 2006 as Deputy Assistant to the President and Principal Deputy Press Secretary. He worked directly with the President and senior Administration officials, the national press corps, opinion leaders, and foreign news media, regularly briefed reporters from the White House podium and participated in on-camera cable and network interviews.
Tony was the White House communicator responsible for international and domestic economic policy issues — including international trade; global financial markets; banking; and international development and global health issues. He was also the White House’s lead spokesman on legal issues; Supreme Court cases; U.S. intelligence issues; terrorist financing; and financial crimes.
Before moving to the White House, Tony served as the U.S. Treasury Department’s chief spokesman on issues related to domestic finance, debt management, banking, international economics and international development policy. He was instrumental in leading the Administration’s communications strategy in dealing with emerging market financial crises, currency policy, macroeconomic policy, and tax policy. Tony assisted three U.S. Treasury secretaries on activities ranging from preparation for G7 and G20 finance ministers meetings, IMF and World Bank meetings, congressional testimony, media interviews, and speeches. Combining his work at the Treasury and the White House, Tony directed and participated in communications efforts in more than 60 countries around the world.
Before joining the Bush Administration, Tony served as a communications specialist for the Bush-Cheney campaign. Prior to that he served as Vice President of Government Affairs for the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, where he led successful public affairs and issue campaigns resulting in important infrastructure investments and legislative policy changes in Pennsylvania.
Earlier in his career, he served in senior legislative and communications positions in the U.S. Congress and Senate, and as a political director to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge.
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Tony received his bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Pittsburgh, and attended the university’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife, Judy, and their young children, Antonio and Juliette.
Aaron Klein is the director of the Financial Regulatory Reform Initiative at the Bipartisan Policy Center. Previously, Klein served at the Treasury Department as the deputy assistant secretary for economic policy, policy coordination. In that capacity he has worked on financial regulatory reform issues including crafting and helping secure passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. He also played a leading role on housing finance reform, transportation and infrastructure policy and TARP implementation.
Prior to his appointment in 2009, he served for over eight years on the staff of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, most recently as chief economist. In that capacity, he worked for Chairmen Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) on numerous pieces of legislation, including the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA), the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA), the surface transportation reauthorization (SAFETEA), the Check 21 Act, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. He also led the committee’s economic policy agenda which included oversight over the Federal Reserve, confirmation hearings for the Council of Economic Advisers and issues regarding financial literacy.
Klein is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Woodrow Wilson School for Public Affairs at Princeton University. He lives in Silver Spring, his hometown, with his wife and two daughters.
Michael T. McRaith
Michael T. McRaith was appointed by U.S. Department of the Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to serve as the Director of the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) in June 2011. As Director of FIO, McRaith advises the Secretary on domestic and prudential international insurance matters of importance. FIO monitors all aspects of the insurance sector, including access to affordable insurance for traditionally underserved communities and consumers, minorities and low- and moderate income persons. McRaith also serves as a non-voting member of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC).
Director McRaith is responsible for coordination of Federal efforts and the development of Federal policy on prudential aspects of international insurance matters. As FIO Director, McRaith represents the United States at the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) and in other bi-lateral and multi-lateral international insurance matters. McRaith also serves on the IAIS Executive Committee and as Chair of the IAIS Technical Committee.
Immediately prior to his appointment as FIO Director in June 2011, McRaith served more than 6 years as the Director of the Illinois Department of Insurance.
Prior to his public service, McRaith practiced law for fifteen years in Chicago. McRaith received his J.D. from Loyola University of Chicago and his B.A. from Indiana University. McRaith serves on the Boards of Directors for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – Chicago Chapter, and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.
U.S. Representative Ed Royce (R) is serving his eleventh term in Congress representing Southern California's 39th District, based in Orange, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino Counties. He and his wife, Marie, are longtime residents of Fullerton, CA.
Royce's priorities in Congress are: addressing our national debt, protecting our homeland, eliminating pork-barrel spending, fighting crime and supporting victims of crime, strengthening education for all students, spurring job creation and strengthening Social Security and Medicare.
Royce has a strong history of public service. In 1982, he was elected to the California State Senate where he began his fight for victims' rights. He authored the nation's first anti-stalker law and versions of his bill have been adopted in all 50 states. He was also the legislative author and campaign co-chairman of California's Proposition 115, the Crime Victims/Speedy Trial Initiative, approved by the voters in 1990. In Congress, Royce continues his fight for victims' rights. He wrote and passed the Interstate Stalking Punishment and Prevention Act in 1996. This law makes it a federal crime to pursue a victim across state lines and enables law enforcement to intervene before violence occurs. Royce was active in passing AMBER Alert legislation in 2003, and legislation in 2004 to enhance rights for victims of crime. He currently is a member of the Victim’s Rights Caucus.
For the 113th Congress, Royce was selected to be Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Royce has served on the Committee since entering Congress in 1993. Immediately prior to becoming Chairman of the Committee, Royce served as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade and a member of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. For more information on his work on the Foreign Affairs Committee visit: http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/.
As a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, Royce sits on two Subcommittees: Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises, and Insurance and Housing. Royce has served on the conference committees for some of the most significant legislation in the financial services arena. For more than a decade Royce has called for a stronger federal regulator to limit Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's excessive risk taking at the expense of taxpayers. In 2003, he was the first member of Congress to write legislation calling for a single regulator under the Treasury Department for the three housing government sponsored enterprises: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the twelve Federal Home Loan Banks.
Royce has consistently earned honors and awards from the National Taxpayers Union, Citizens Against Government Waste, National Federation of Independent Businesses, Watchdogs of the Treasury, Americans for Tax Reform, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, United Seniors Association, 60 Plus, American Share Holders Association, Citizens for a Sound Economy and the Small Business Survival Committee.
A California native, Royce is a graduate of California State University, Fullerton, School of Business Administration. Prior to entering public service, his professional background includes experience as a small business owner, a controller, a capital projects manager, and a corporate tax manager for a Southern California company. Royce and his wife, Marie, have been married for 28 years.
Mr. Sonnichsen is presenting Tuesday's Hot Topic Breakfast, "Federal Regulation—Vote No!" He is the Government Relations Director for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Mr. Sonnichsen oversees the activities of the NAIC’s Washington office and works with state insurance regulators to develop policy and advocacy strategies on state, federal, and international issues affecting insurance. Mr. Sonnichsen also coordinates the Washington office’s outreach to Congress, federal and international financial regulators, and state governors, legislators, and officials. Prior to this role, Mr. Sonnichsen served as the NAIC's Government Relations Policy and Legislation Manager, and previously as Policy and Legislation Analyst on property/casualty and financial regulation issues.
Before joining the NAIC in February 2006, Mr. Sonnichsen worked on international risk management and financial reporting issues for the American Academy of Actuaries. Prior to the Academy, he served as the political action committee administrator and legislative assistant for Viacom, a large media conglomerate.
Mr. Sonnichsen received a B.S. in Management and Information Systems from the University of Maryland University College and lives in Kensington, Maryland.
With many years of experience in the public sector, Barb’s extensive portfolio includes policy work in the fields of energy, pay equity and labour relations reform, as well as legislative initiatives in the areas of workers’ compensation and occupational health and safety. Before joining IBC in 2000, Barb worked as Director of Policy and Communications at the College of Nurses of Ontario and as Regional Planning Director at the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. She served as chief negotiator for the health sector during the Ontario government’s Social Contract initiative in 1993.
As Vice-President, Policy & Senior Advisor, Barb applies her extensive public policy knowledge to ensure IBC’s insurance operations are thorough, creative and workable. She continues to be inspired by the power of public policy and its ability to touch every aspect of our lives.
Barb holds degrees from McGill University and University of Toronto.
Peter J. Wallison
Peter J. Wallison, a codirector of AEI's program on financial policy studies, researches banking, insurance, and securities regulation. As general counsel of the U.S. Treasury Department, he had a significant role in the development of the Reagan administration's proposals for the deregulation of the financial services industry. He also served as White House counsel to President Ronald Reagan and is the author of Ronald Reagan: The Power of Conviction and the Success of His Presidency (Westview Press, 2002). His other books include Competitive Equity: A Better Way to Organize Mutual Funds (2007); Privatizing Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks (2004); The GAAP Gap: Corporate Disclosure in the Internet Age (2000); and Optional Federal Chartering and Regulation of Insurance Companies(2000). He also writes for AEI's Financial Services Outlook series.