Last week, the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors gathered in Washington to lobby Congress on important issues to benefit brokers and advisers. One of the group's biggest priorities was discussing a bill that would create the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers, a federal clearinghouse to streamline licensing to sell insurance in states across the U.S.

Fresh off those meetings, NAIFA’s incoming president Juli McNeely says there’s almost resounding support for the bill from lawmakers, yet it remains to be seen whether it will be passed this year.

See related: This industry group plans to lobby hard for NARAB II

“What’s encouraging to me is that the lawmakers acknowledged the importance of it,” says the owner and president of McNeely Financial Services Inc. in the Wausau, Wis., area. “We just emphasized the importance of getting it passed this year.”

NARAB II, as the bill is known, would establish a national organization to cut through the red tape of state-by-state broker and agent licensing. Industry lobbying groups are asking lawmakers to attach it to another insurance bill set to go through Congress soon, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, known as TRIA.

However, “The final TRIA may go through the same peril that the flood bill did,” McNeely says, based on her conversations with five Wisconsin lawmakers on May 21. NARAB II was previously attached to flood insurance legislation that passed in the U.S. Senate but was dropped from the version that passed the U.S. House of Representatives and signed into law because, according to NAIFA and other industry groups’ staff, the House leadership wanted a “clean bill.”

For now, McNeely says she’s confident NAIFA meetings with lawmakers accomplished what they could — explain the issues NARAB II would resolve for agents and brokers.

“I have a lot of friends of mine in the industry who are licensed in all 50 states,” she says. “They have a full-time person just to manage all of their licensing. It’s just more cumbersome of a process on the insurance side.” She imagines that NARAB may save brokers and agents money if they’re able to do away with the hassle of keeping up with 50 licenses.

TRIA was initially passed in 2002 to ensure that insurance carriers can continue to issue policies and accept claims, with a backstop of federal funding, following an act of terrorism. The current bill is set to expire in December and while reauthorization was introduced in the U.S. Senate in April, it has not been filed in the House yet.

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