Insurance Industry Welcomes Friendlier Congress

Article excerpt

The arrival of a Republican Congress in Washington, D.C. has improved the legislative climate for business and insurance issues, or so it is believed. But industry lobbyists salivating over tort reform and regulatory changes will probably see those issues watered down by political realities, according to a panel at the 1995 Report on the Government and Insurance. Attendees heard Washington insider reports from Barbara Haugen, director of federal affairs for the National Association of Insurance Brokers (NAIB); Peter Lefkin, vice president of government affairs at The Fireman's Fund Insurance Co.; Gordon Stewart, president of the Insurance Information Institute; and Ken Schneider, a senior vice president at Alexander & Alexander.

Tort reform legislation that would limit punitive damages sailed through the House of Representatives this year, but lobbying efforts will probably alter the legislation in the Senate. "The bill that passed the House was an industry wish list, but the Senate has concerns about the House bill, and you can never underestimate the power of the trial bar," Mr. Lefkin said.

Facing more favorable prospects is a proposal to create a government-backed private insurance company to issue natural disaster coverage. …