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Healthy Dialogue on International Barriers To The Business Of Insurance/Reinsurance

From our founding almost 15 years ago, U.S. RE has been an international player. We've witnessed the growing globalization of business and the increasing interdependence of national economies. While reinsurance has historically been an international business, we're pleased to see organizations representing insurers, agents, and brokers speaking out on global issues that affect all sectors of our business.

We read with considerable interest the recent speech of Ken Crerar, President of the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers (CIAB), in Geneva to the Geneva Association, an international insurance research group. He said, "lowering trade barriers to provide greater market access and putting more liberal trade rules in place are critical to creating a level international playing field for all agents and brokers."

Speaking also for the World Federation of Insurance Intermediaries (WFII), he called for, "removal of restrictions on the right of establishment for intermediaries; approval of cross border placement for Marine, Aviation, and Transportation insurance and reinsurance; and an agreement that would allow intermediaries to freely provide insurance products and services to clients." Proposed changes in trade rules in the General Agreement on Trade in Services are now being discussed in conjunction with the Doha Round of international trade talks.

We're pleased to see CIAB and WFII taking leadership on behalf of the broker community to reduce international trade barriers to the business of insurance and reinsurance. We were pleased also to see Mr. Crerar acknowledge to colleagues from other nations that our system of state regulation also throws up barriers to the free commerce of insurance in the U.S. market. CIAB is pressing for an optional federal charter for insurance agents and brokers. We believe the time has come for a healthy dialogue on the benefits and limitations of state regulation. Without totally dismantling a system that has worked reasonably well for more than 100 years, we believe changes can be made that will reduce internal impediments to trade in insurance at the same time we exhort other nations to open their doors. We commend CIAB, WFII, the International Insurance Council, and the Reinsurance Association of America for engaging leaders in other countries and here at home in a healthy dialogue on insurance regulation.