Generally: Transamerica supports regulation that ensures transparency, efficient and fair markets and meaningful consumer protections. A careful balance is needed between too little or lax regulation and too much or over regulation which can be counter-productive to the goals of smart regulation. Smart regulation will allow for innovation in business models and products, will provide consumer protections without unnecessarily adding cost, confusion and complexity, and will be harmonized with and not overlap or conflict with other regulations.
Insurance Regulation: Transamerica is committed to the regulation of the business of insurance by the states. The state regulatory framework governing insurers and the protection of policyholders is comprehensive and rigorous, and continues to evolve in the interest of policyholders as the business of insurance for much of the industry is becoming more global.
Role of Federal Insurance Office: Transamerica supports the need for a federal expert or office to represent the insurance industry in international insurance policy fora, as well as to serve as a focal point for insurance at the federal level to ensure that federal law and regulation appropriately recognize and are coordinated with state regulation. There should be clear direction for greater coordination between federal agencies and state insurance regulators.
Transamerica supports Financial Stability Oversight Council (“FSOC”) reforms to increase transparency and due process of the proceedings to consider any financial services organization in the U.S. as systemically significant (a “SIFI”). For this reason, FSOC should include an insurance expert with respect to consideration of any insurance company as systemically significant. Transamerica also supports an activities-based approach vs. the current entity based approach for determining systemic risk. Consideration of any activity as systemically significant must, however, be considered in context, including market impact, existing state or other federal regulation, materiality, existing policy measures, the geographic market, and entities involved.
Transamerica also supports the participation of the U.S. Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve Board, in coordination with state insurance departments, on the Financial Stability Board (“FSB”) which determines any financial services organization globally as systemically significant (“G-SII”), as well as the reforms to the determination process to increase the transparency and due process of the proceedings. Such involvement is essential to ensuring that the approach to determination of any systemic risk of insurers on the global level is consistent with that taken in the U.S.
Federal Insurance Office
The Federal Insurance Office (FIO) should remain an advisory arm to the federal government on insurance-related issues. FIO’s responsibilities should include advice to other agencies regarding the impact of federal regulation on the insurance business and coordination of federal regulation impacting insurance with the states. There should be clear direction for greater coordination between federal agencies and state insurance regulators.
Transamerica supports the U.S.-EU Covered Agreement, which restricts extra-territorial application of EU and U.S. insurance regulations outside their respective markets. In particular, Transamerica supports the restriction in the Covered Agreement of states’ authority to regulate foreign affiliates of U.S. insurance companies as part of its group supervision regulation and subject the foreign group to the state group capital calculation.
Protection of customer and company non-public information against data breaches and cyber-attacks is critically important. Transamerica supports policies for effective and efficient cyber defense, as well as to protect the privacy of customer non-public information; harmonization of regulations arising from multiple regulators; and coordinated development of International Cybersecurity, Data and Technology Principles.
A national solution to safeguard consumers’ private information is required; the current patchwork of state-by-state privacy laws with different requirements only serves to confuse, frustrate, and harm consumers, while at the same time stifling innovation. A federal, preemptive data privacy standard will ensure consumers benefit from innovation while uniformly protecting Americans’ privacy.
Transamerica supports federal legislation that would establish important legal certainty by creating safe harbor protections for life insurers and other financial institutions to provide insurance and other financial products and services in connection with legitimate cannabis-related businesses that are legal under their respective governing state laws. Continued uncertainty regarding potential violations of federal laws (under which cannabis remains illegal) jeopardizes access to much-needed insurance products and services to these legitimate businesses and hinders their ability to promote the financial wellbeing and retirement security of their employees.
Transamerica supports the existing distribution models of insurance companies, which are predicated on an independent contractor and statutory employee model, and believes that licensed insurance producers should be exempt from any federal legislation that would amend the definition of an independent contractor. Independent contractors are crucial to the delivery of life insurance and financial security products, and legislation that would amend the definition of an employee would constrain the consumer benefits the life insurance industry and Transamerica provides by making it harder for our products to be distributed.
Insurance producers, independent broker-dealers, and independent financial advisors operate in a heavily regulated industry, and are given the ability to exert greater control over the existing means of their independent operations. Because of the unique nature in which these insurance producers, IBDs, and IFAs operate, Congress has traditionally left the regulation of the business of insurance – including the licensure and regulation of our products – to the states, under the McCarran-Ferguson Act.