House Committee Passes CFPA Bill, Which Excludes Insurers
The U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee has passed H.R. 3126 in a vote of 39-29. The bill would create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA). The insurance industry was excluded from the legislation.
The CFPA would serve several purposes. First, it would be responsible for rule making, examination and enforcement of regulations for financial institutions that provide consumers with financial products and services.
It would also serve as the rule-making authority of the Federal Reserve and of other federal banking agencies under pre-existing consumer banking laws.
The proposed CFPA would have broad rule-making authority to address unfair, deceptive and abusive acts and practices that the Agency would identify in the future.
Further, the CFPA would examine bank and nonbank institutions for compliance with consumer banking laws and CFPA regulations, and would enforce violations of those standards.
Though the legislation passed the Financial Services Committee, it is uncertain when H.R. 3126 will be brought to the House floor.
U.S. House Passes Partial Antitrust Exemption
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act by a vote of 220-215.
H.R. 3962 contains a provision that repeals the antitrust exemption in the McCarran-Ferguson Act for health insurers. The provision excludes property and casualty insurers.
The outcome of the Affordable Health Care for America Act is uncertain. The Senate has not scheduled floor consideration as of yet.
U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is expected to introduce similar language to the health care bill on the Senate floor, via amendment.
The Automotive Service Association (ASA) supports a repeal of the McCarran-Ferguson Act, including those antitrust protections for property and casualty insurers.
A full repeal is proposed in H.R. 1583, which was introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and is co-sponsored by Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss. H.R. 1583 would impact the insurance industry as a whole, including property and casualty insurers.
Calif. Governor Signs Anti-Steering Act
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has signed California Assembly Bill 1200, an anti-steering act relating to motor vehicle insurance.
A.B. 1200 amends the existing law, which prohibited insurers from requiring that an automobile be repaired at a specific automotive repair dealer. A.B. 1200 now authorizes an insurer to provide a claimant with specific truthful and non-deceptive information regarding the services and benefits available to the claimant during the claims process. The insurance industry supported the legislation.
ASA supports the consumers' absolute, unequivocal right to choose a repair facility for a collision or mechanical repair.
Senator Makes Changes To Climate Bill
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has amended Senate Bill 1733, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act.
Boxer's new provisions include allocating emission allowances, providing consumer rebates, promoting the use of renewable energy and fuels, addressing the use of clean-coal technologies, and encouraging certain forestry and agriculture practices to reduce greenhouse gases.
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