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Insurance Group Opposes Repeal of Industry's Antitrust Exemption

August 02, 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C. --- During its summer meeting in Seattle July 18-22, the State-Federal Relations Committee of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) unanimously approved a resolution opposing amendment or repeal of the McCarran-Ferguson Act.More specifically, Automotive Body Repair News reported, the committee is opposing Congressional efforts to repeal a provision that gives insurers a limited anti-trust exemption.NCOIL said it opposes Senate bill 618 and House bill 1081 "on the grounds that it misinterprets the role of states in enforcing antitrust protections and would jeopardize insurer practices that promote available and affordable coverage; expose insurance markets to uncertainty and litigation; and create an environment that inadvertently disadvantages consumers most in need."Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced the Senate bill in February. The legislation, called the Insurance Industry Competition Act, would remove the federal antitrust exemption from the insurance industry. The Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission would be given the authority to apply antitrust laws to anti-competitive behavior by insurance companies. The legislation has drawn support from the Automotive Service Association, an auto repair trade group based in Bedford, Texas. "ASA has supported the repeal of McCarran-Ferguson for a number of years," said Bob Redding, ASA's Washington, D.C., representative. "We are very proud of these leaders in the Congress stepping forward to protect consumers and small businesses. Although this legislation would not resolve all of the insurer-repairer-consumer issues, it is the right first step toward a more level playing field."
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