Insurance Capital Standards Clarification Act of 2014by Senator Susan M. Collins
Posted on 2014-12-10
COLLINS. I ask unanimous consent to engage in a colloquy with
Senators Brown and Johanns.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, in June of this year the Senate passed by unanimous consent, S. 2270, urgent legislation I introduced with Senators Brown and Johanns to address the capital requirements that apply to insurance companies under Federal supervision pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act. This legislation clarifies the Federal Reserve's authority to recognize the distinctions between banking and insurance when implementing section 171 of the Dodd-Frank Act, ensuring that bank-centric capital standards are not applied to such companies' regulated insurance activities.
One of the central elements of the Dodd-Frank Act was stronger capital rules for both banks and certain non-bank financial institutions. Two sections of the Dodd-Frank Act accomplished this-- section 165, which applies to large bank holding companies and to non- bank systemically important financial institutions, SIFIs, and section 171, which applies minimum capital standards to insured depository institutions, depository institution holding companies, including insurance savings and loan holding companies, and to SIFIs.
Insurance companies, specifically insurance savings and loan holding companies, are different from banks. Insurers must match long-term obligations [[Page S6531]] to their policyholders with long-term assets, mostly bonds, while banks have more callable obligations--securities and loans and mortgages--and fund them with deposits as well as a mix of debt and equity of varying maturities and durations. The Dodd-Frank legislation reflected this reality, both in its text and in the legislative history, which repeatedly recognizes that the business of insurance is unique and presents different risks.