October 05, 2009

Insurance director addresses consumer group in St. Louis; stresses need for strong state regulation

Jefferson City, Mo. - Missouri Insurance Director John M. Huff addressed attendees of a conference on insurance consumer protection in St. Louis, saying some in the industry are trying to weaken states' ability to regulate insurance. Huff on Monday addressed the Insurance Consumer Affairs Exchange (ICAE), a group consisting of state regulators, consumer advocates, law enforcement, academic scholars, insurance industry representatives and others. Huff made a strong argument that states, rather than the federal government, should continue to regulate the insurance industry.

Huff said he and other insurance commissioners from across the country oppose federal regulation of insurance, which is being advocated by some in Congress and the insurance industry. Those in favor of federal oversight would create an "Optional Federal Charter," which would give insurers the choice to be regulated either on the state or federal level. Huff says states have successfully regulated insurance for more than 150 years, and that system should continue.

"For a century and a half, states have been protecting consumers, ensuring fair competition and affordable products," said Huff, director of the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP). "The prospect of an optional federal charter will dilute consumer protections by allowing some companies to choose the weaker regulatory option."

About the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration

The Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) is responsible for consumer protection through the regulation of financial industries and professionals.  The department's seven divisions work to maintain consumer confidence by examining and monitoring industries and professions and by establishing coherent and evolving policies.  DIFP works to enforce state regulations both efficiently and effectively while encouraging a competitive environment for industries and professions to ensure consumers have access to quality products.