National broker licensing board moves forward as Obama nominates directors

The National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers is one step closer to becoming reality as the President names four nominations for the board of directors

Insurance News


One year after congressional passage of the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers, action has been taken toward creating the historic national licensing board.

President Barack Obama yesterday named the first four nominations for members of NARAB, including Heather Steinmiller, senior vice president and general counsel of Connor Strong and Buckelew Cos. Inc. in Philadelphia. In addition to her work with the property/casualty company, Steinmiller has worked extensively with the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers’ Legal Counsels Working Group.

Obama’s three other nominees include Raymond G. Farmer, director of the South Carolina Department of Insurance, Mike Rothman, Minnesota commissioner of commerce and Tom McLeary, president of Endow, Inc., an employee benefits and life insurance brokerage in Chicago.

If approved, the nominees will sit on the board of directors for NARAB, which is expected to make producer licensing less difficult and expand business opportunities for agents and brokers nationwide. The board was advocated by a variety of agent and financial advisor trade groups, and supporters have eagerly been awaiting these presidential nominations since the bill’s passage last January.

Eventual operation of NARAB could take time, however. Background checks must be run on Obama’s nominees – a process that could stretch into hundreds of hours.
In addition, the remaining nine members of NARAB’s 13-member board must be nominated. The final group must contain at least eight regulators.
All things considered, most industry figures do not expect the board to be operational until 2017.

Tim Owen, vice president of product management at Vertafore, works with 23 state insurance departments to build regulatory systems focused on producer licensing, among other areas. From that vantage point, he sees some hurdles the NAIC and others will have to face in their work to implement NARAB.

“There are a lot of operational and technological things we’ll have to figure out,” Owen told Insurance Business America. “There could be regulatory implications, such as certain kinds of education that not all states require, that might make it a challenge for NARAB to streamline the licensing process.”

There are additional discrepancies, such as California’s background requirements, Georgia’s stipulation that an agent have an affidavit of citizenship and New York’s decision not to adopt the Producer License Model Act, that NARAB board members must clear up.

Once established and operational, NARAB will create standards insurance producers must meet in order to business in other states , supplementing the current system, which asks producers to meet requirements in their home state and every other state in which the wish to operate.

Supporters of the legislation say NARAB will simplify licensing procedures and reduce costs. According to an analysis from the National Association of Independent Financial Advisors, producers currently spend about 29 hours a year and $225 in licensing costs in order to meet requirements.

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!