Insurance mostly dodges financial reform

Financial reform and insurance
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Financial reform and insurance

The insurance industry breathed a collective sigh of relief at largely being spared the rod of financial reform for its tangential role in the financial crisis. Had it not been for the near-collapse of insurance giant AIG in 2008, the industry might not have come under intense scrutiny at all.

"AIG was the 800-pound gorilla in the room, but its insurance subsidiaries weren't at the heart of the problems. It was the credit default swaps and other derivatives that were run through the financial products division," says J. Stephen "Stef" Zielezienski, senior vice president and general counsel of the trade group American Insurance Association, or AIA, in Washington, D.C.

The headline news from an insurance perspective: The insurance industry succeeded in retention of the states' regulatory structure without federal oversight. That battle isn't over and is expected to come before Congress next year, says Therese M. "Terri" Vaughan, CEO of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, or NAIC.

For now, Congress decided that if insurance ain't broke, don't fix it. Still, financial reform did touch the industry. Here are six ways financial reform legislation affects insurance and what it may mean for consumers.




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