In an effort to keep the possibility of a national insurance broker licensing clearinghouse alive, the language for NARAB has been included in a flood insurance bill (S. 1846) that’s teed up for vote in the U.S. Senate the week of Jan. 27.

NARAB II passed the U.S. House in September as a standalone bill (H.R. 1155) but is stalled in the Senate on its own. The intent of the legislation is to create the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers, which would have a 13-member board appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate; members of the organization would have a simpler time obtaining licenses to practice insurance outside of their state of residence.

“We’re extremely pleased, it demonstrates that there’s a lot of momentum for NARAB,” says John Prible, vice president of federal government affairs at The Big “I,” Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America. If passed in this manner, however, he says it will also need to be attached to the House’s version of the flood insurance bill and “the House and Senate flood bill are probably not going to be too similar.”

But, the NARAB language in both chambers is identical, which Prible says will help during the flood insurance bill reconciliations if passed by both the House and Senate.

Background

Earlier this year the Senate’s standalone version of NARAB II, S.534, went through markup in the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, where most senators were in support of the bill. However, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) proposed an amendment that would allow any state to opt out of the bureau. While the amendment was defeated by a vote of 18-4, according to Prible, Coburn refuses to let the legislation go to a full Senate vote without his amendment.

Jill Hoffman, assistant vice president of federal government relations at the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, said at the time of the markup that Coburn’s amendment “would gut the bill.”

The sponsors of the flood insurance legislation are Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.).

Prible says the exact timing of the vote during the week is unknown, though cloture — the motion to end debate — will likely be filed Monday, Jan. 27 in the evening.

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