March 10, 2021
What Impact Will the Biden Administration Have on the Insurance Industry?
Expect a great deal of legislative activity on a wide range of issues affecting the property/casualty industry.
In January 20, in a historic inauguration ceremony surrounded by U.S. soldiers guarding against domestic terrorism — before a field of 200,000 illuminated flags representing Americans who could not attend the ceremony because of the coronavirus pandemic — President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn into office.
After some remarks made that day by Sean Kevelighan, CEO, Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I), the Triple-I summarized the top priorities of the Biden administration affecting insurance.
In coming months, the property/casualty insurance industry is likely to encounter a frenetic pace of legislative activity on many issues affecting its operations. Here are some of the main ones:
Senator Dianne Feinstein’s proposed Addressing Climate Financial Risk Act, intended to help federal regulators understand and mitigate risks from climate change within the financial system, would require a Federal Insurance Office (FIO) report on how to modernize and improve climate risk insurance regulation.
“The insurance industry is more directly affected by climate risk than other areas of the financial system,” said Feinstein’s press release. The report would be modeled on FIO’s 2013 report on modernizing state insurance regulation.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney introduced the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act, which is modeled after the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act enacted after 9/11. However, the bill has yet to gain widespread support. The insurance industry has advanced several pandemic risk mitigation proposals of its own. Also, see this issue’s This Just In article.
Congress could deliberate reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program, which was last done with the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. The current NFIP expires Sept. 30, 2021.
Full federal marijuana legalization remains daunting, with a slim Democratic majority, according to Politico, but piecemeal legislation with wider bipartisan support, such as banking access for cannabis businesses and medical marijuana research, may have a better chance to advance. Conflicting state and federal laws have discouraged insurers from participating in the cannabis-related business market.
An expected increase in the corporate tax rate would mean higher tax liabilities for property/casualty insurers.
Risk-based insurance pricing is an issue that’s expected to heat up, and insurers will have to explain to a new set of legislators that the business of insurance hinges on predicting the level of risk a policyholder represents and charging a premium that corresponds with that level of risk.