Tester, Johanns Introduce Bill to Increase Insurance Options

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today introduced legislation to increase insurance market options and consumer choice while working to reduce insurance costs. This legislation would expand the market for consumers and is expected to lower prices through increased competition because insurance brokers can more easily register across state lines.

Johanns said, “Increasing competition and cutting compliance costs will help reduce insurance rates for consumers. This bill also improves consumer protections and, critically, preserves the authority of states to manage their insurance markets.”

Tester said, “Streamlining the licensing of registered agents and brokers while maintaining state regulation of the insurance industry will increase competition in the insurance market and better protect consumers. With the support of both the insurance industry and regulators, our bill will improve the licensing process and provide consumers with a better product at a lower price.”

The National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers was first recommended by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley financial reform legislation in 1999, but was never instituted. This bipartisan legislation would formally create NARAB as a non-profit, independent board comprised of state insurance commissioners and insurance market representatives. After passing background checks in their home states, insurance agents could apply for NARAB membership, allowing them to sell insurance in other states. The bill includes provisions to ensure transparency and consumer protection while also empowering NARAB to levy disciplinary measures on agents who do not adhere to board guidelines.