The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed legislation that aims to make it easier for benefit brokers and agents to sell insurance across state lines.

In a 417-7 vote, the House passed the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2014, S. 2244, an amended version of a measure passed by the Senate earlier this year that would extend the terrorism insurance program. Attached to the bill is legislation (NARAB II) that would create a National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers, a federal clearinghouse that would cut through the red tape of state-by-state broker and agent licensing, streamline the licensing process and allow for brokers to sell insurance in states across the U.S.

NARAB II would “achieve much needed reciprocity in producer licensing and help policyholders by permitting greater competition among agents and brokers,” according to Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”).

The association’s senior vice president of external and government affairs, Charles Symington, applauded the bill’s passage, saying the legislation would build upon regulatory experience at the state level, promote greater consistency in agent and agency licensing, and ease the burden that many agents face in doing business across state lines.

The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors has actively lobbied legislators for the bill’s passage and also applauded its passage by the House Wednesday.

“NARAB II is a top priority for NAIFA, says NAIFA President Juli McNeely. “The legislation benefits consumers as well by allowing them to maintain their preferred insurance agent or broker should they move to or from our state. 
“Insurance agents and brokers have been waiting for years to bring meaningful reciprocity, like NARAB II, to the agent licensing process,” she says, adding that the association urges the Senate to vote for the House amended version of S. 2244.

See related story: NARAB II passage questionable

NARAB II would streamline the non-resident producer licensing process but preserve the states’ ability to protect consumers — it does not create a federal regulator for insurance and the states would retain their regulatory authority over consumer protection, market conduct and unfair trade practices, according to a brief on the bill by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The states also would retain their rights over resident licensing, as well as supervision, discipline and the establishment of licensing fees for insurance producers, NAIC adds.

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