Washington, DC (ots)
- Six Trade Groups Urge USTR To Adopt
Blueprint For Liberalizing Insurance Markets, International Financial
Leaders Back Adoption Of Plan In WTO Member Countries
Six major insurance and financial services trade groups,
advocating free and open insurance markets around the world, are
urging U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) negotiators to adopt the
industry's broad negotiating objectives in the next round of World
Trade Organization (WTO) global trade talks.
In a letter to the USTR, the leaders of the American Council of
Life Insurers, American Insurance Association, Coalition of Service
Industries, Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, International
Insurance Council and Reinsurance Association of America outlined a
comprehensive and ambitious set of negotiating objectives and asked
that they be included in the initial U.S. requests to be made in
"We believe that the meaningful liberalization of most foreign
insurance markets can best be accomplished by the adoption of a
comprehensive set of commitments that include, but go beyond,
traditional market access and national treatment commitments," the
trade groups say in their letter. "Such new commitments would include
regulatory, transparency and 'best practices' principles that will
serve to complement and buttress commitments made in the areas of
market access and national treatment."
The centerpiece of the insurance industry's objectives is a "model
schedule" developed by the international Financial Leaders Working
Group insurance team (representing financial institutions and
associations in Europe, the U.S., Canada and Japan). The model
schedule "enables a generic insurance market that we believe will
help insurance consumers by giving them more and different products
to choose from, as well as more price competition," the letter says.
"This generic market would feature a regulatory and operating
structure for insurance providers that is stable, predictable and
conducive to competition. All of these elements are needed for U.S.
insurance providers to choose to enter a foreign market and make a
long-term commitment to it."
"Adoption of the full model schedule is crucial to U.S. insurance
providers if they are to compete globally on a greater scale and help
sustain the competitiveness of the U.S. industry in the global
marketplace," said John Savercool, AIA's vice president of federal
affairs. "U.S. companies support well-regulated and open markets, and
this is precisely what the model schedule calls for."
"The really big beneficiaries will be the accepting countries
themselves, especially those with developing economies," said Brad
Smith, ACLI's managing director for international relations.
"Insurance is fundamental to any country's financial infrastructure.
Most emerging markets would benefit from the professional and
financial capital and the expertise global insurers can bring."
The trade groups' letter points out that "Insurance provides
numerous critical functions to any society, including the creation of
pools of capital that are vital to the adequacy of a country's
capital and bond markets; the creation and offering of insurance
products that can make possible and accommodate risks associated with
business ventures; needed products for personal savings, as well as
personal and retirement security, and further expertise in risk
management. U.S. insurance providers have the expertise and
experience to help provide these benefits in foreign markets, as long
as they are open and provide meaningful access."
In a separate statement, insurance representatives within the
Financial Leaders Working Group (FLWG) reaffirmed their "strong
support for significant trade liberalization in insurance" and urged
trade negotiators for each of their countries to include the model
schedule in full in their initial negotiating requests.
The FLWG representatives that developed the proposed model
schedule, and that participated in the joint statement, include:
· American Council of Life Insurers
· American Insurance Association
· BIPAR (The European Federation of Insurance Intermediaries)
· Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association
· CEA and its 15 European Union Member Associations (Austria,
Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland,
Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden,
· International Insurance Council
· Reinsurance Association of America
· The Marine and Fire Insurance Association of Japan
· World Federation of Insurance Intermediaries
The American Council of Life Insurers is a Washington, D.C.-based
trade association. Its 400 member companies offer life insurance,
annuities, pensions, long-term care insurance, disability income
insurance and other retirement and financial protection products.
ACLI's public Web site can be accessed at www.acli.com
The American Insurance Association represents 412 major insurance
companies that provide all lines of property and casualty insurance
and write more than $87 billion annually in premiums. The association
is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and has representatives in every
state. All AIA press releases are available at www.aiadc.org
ots Originaltext: ACLI