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Federal Insurance Office (FIO)

Last Updated 5/21/2019

The Federal Insurance Office (FIO) was established by Title V of the federal Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank). The FIO is housed within the U.S. Department of the Treasury and is headed by a director who is appointed by the secretary of the Treasury. The office provides expertise on insurance matters to the Treasury Department and other federal agencies and engages in international discussions relating to insurance.  However, it is not a regulatory agency and its authorities do not displace the time-tested robust state insurance regulatory regime.

Scope and Functions 
The FIO’s authorities extend to all lines of insurance other than health insurancelong-term care insurance(except that which is included with life or annuity insurance components) and crop insurance, which is governed by the Federal Crop Insurance Act. The FIO does not have supervisory or regulatory authority over the business of insurance.

The FIO is charged with monitoring all aspects of the insurance sector, including identifying activities within the sector that could potentially contribute to a systemic crisis to the broader financial system, and the extent to which under-served communities have access to affordable insurance products, and the sector's regulation. The director of the FIO serves as a non-voting member of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC).  The FIO also plays a role in authorizing the resolution of troubled companies that pose a risk to the financial stability of the United States. In addition, the FIO is tasked with assisting the secretary of the Treasury in negotiating covered agreements.

The FIO advises the Secretary of the Treasury on major domestic and prudential international insurance matters. The FIO has authority to represent the U.S. federal government internationally at meetings of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) and other similar organizations. However, state insurance regulators, either directly or through their NAIC representatives, present the views of the insurance regulatory community internationally.

Powers
In order to carry out these functions, the FIO is authorized to receive and collect data and information on the insurance industry and can enter into information sharing agreements with state regulators. The FIO can also require an insurer or its affiliate to submit data to the office; however, the FIO must first determine whether any public or regulatory sources are available before requiring such information directly from an insurer. The law provides an exemption for small insurers that meet a minimum size threshold not yet defined by the FIO.

Reports
The FIO is responsible for issuing several one-time reports as well as annual reports to the U.S. Congress. The FIO recently released its latest Annual Report on the insurance industry. In addition, the United States Department of the Treasury issued a report on the Asset Management and Insurance Industries. A listing of available FIO reports can be found on the U.S. Department of the Treasury/FIO Webpage.

Status:
State insurance regulators support constructive working relationships with key federal agencies to advance the interest of the U.S. market and consumers. State insurance regulators relationship with the FIO has strengthened in recent months. In recently released reports, the Treasury Department endorsed the state insurance regulatory regime and acknowledged the need to recalibrate FIO's activities both domestically and internationally. Specifically, included among the recommendations the report recommended that the FIO defend the U.S. system of insurance regulation abroad and only advocate for international standards that are consistent with our system. State insurance regulators also educate Congress about the need to reform the FIO to ensure that Treasury's proposed reforms and focus of these entities are embedded into statute and not subject to the whims of any particular administration.

 

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