Toward the end of the last millennia, the banking trends throughout the industry had been in motion for several decades. Banks number of banks across the US had fallen considerably and the banks that remained had grown in size and financial power. There had been 14,000 banks in 1984 but the number dropped to 9,000 by 1999. This was part of an ongoing effort toward greater consolidation that was moving the financial services business in a new direction.
Furthermore, many of the financial services that had been separated during the second half of the century had suddenly become integrated and this included insurance, commercial and investment banking as well. By the start of the 80s, many of the commercial financial services had begun expanding into the underwriting securities as well. Some of them even began to sell insurance.
By 1999, financial integration was an established practice and Congress decided it was time to act. Bill Clinton signed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act at the end of 1999. The Act was named so in honor of the three congressmen that supported the act to approval. This had also been called the Financial Modernization Act would change how the financial sector operated and gave the Federal government special supervisory power.
The GLBA was intended to promote the various advantages of integration in the financial sector for investors and consumers. While still looking to safeguard the stability of the banking and financial system as a whole.
One of the biggest changes the Act introduced was the FHC or Financial Holding Company. This is essentially an umbrella organization that can manage its own subsidiaries in various financial activities. This was considered the happy medium where banks still have certain financial activities restricted but can opt to be a part of a larger organization that is involved in these activities.
Extensive loss of livelihoods, property and even life led to the creation of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968. The legislation has received much recent attention due to the extensive damage caused by flooding in Florida and Louisiana as it did in the violent series of floods in the aftermath of Hurricane Betsy in 1965.
According to the foreword in the US Code Title 42 Chapter 50: National Flood Insurance, the US congress found that the dangers and hazards of sporadic flooding was creating a personal and economic strain on many parts of the US. It was also mentioned that the physical preventative measures, such as dams and embankments, may not always be sufficient to hold back the flood waters and avoid damage.
For these reasons the Federal Government has decided to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program that was hitherto being addressed on the private sector alone. The US Code also mentions some other reasons that would make it “uneconomic” to stay out of the flood insurance program within reasonable terms and conditions.
This piece of legislation in 1968 was the first-time flood insurance was made available on such a massive scale almost available to everyone. Soon after the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 made it mandatory for all people living in Special Flood Hazard Areas to purchase flood insurance to avoid against personal injury lawsuits.
Several important acts followed the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, besides the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973. The most important is the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014. The law was meant to ensure that flood insurance premiums were precisely reflecting the risk of flood damage. The result was an increase in premiums that increased the debt of the National Flood Insurance Program.
This act is one of the first times that the federal government became involved with the insurance industry which is usually left for the state government to regulate and monitor.
The McCarran Ferguson Act is a law that makes the insurance industry exempt from most federal regulations including some (but not all ) of the antitrust laws. The Act was passed in 1945 after the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government was permitted to regulate insurance companies under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. This ruling came as a part of the United States vs South-Eastern Underwriters’ Association case.
Senators Pat McCarran and Homer Ferguson sponsored the act, which provides that ‘Acts of Congress’ which are not expressly aimed at the regulation of the insurance industry will not over-rule laws or regulations that are intended to regulate the business of insurance.
The McCarran-Ferguson act still applies today, and it remains an important one. Indeed, one of the recent proposals for healthcare reform made by the Republicans may require the McCarran-Ferguson Act to be modified. In February 2010, the House of Representatives voted in favour of repealing the Act in terms of how it applies to health insurance, but other types of insurance are still covered.
The act protects certain state laws regarding insurance and allows each state to regulate the insurance industry, including establishing their own licensing requirements for insurance. It also exempts insurance companies from federal anti-trust legislation, at least in part, and protects the insurance industry from a federal take-over. It is widely felt that insurance is one of the most regulated industries in the USA, and insurance companies were concerned about the possibility of even more regulation from the federal government, on top of what the individual states were already doing. State insurance regulators were concerned about the outcome of the South Eastern Underwriters’ Association case, and while Attorney General Biddle denied that the government had any intent of increasing regulation, the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945 helped to offset those concerns.
Imagine running a business and all of a sudden it is flooded.
You will be running around looking to have things repaired, and that’s normal. However, if the loss is too great, you will want to make a claim to your insurance agency based on the plan that was signed in advance.
Now, what if the insurance agency starts using delay tactics by stating they lost their forms or misplaced things? What if you are in need of the funds right away? What will happen then?
The primary objective of the Act is to protect individuals and businesses from insurance agencies who don’t work in good faith.
If the court deems their behavior abnormal or based around delay tactics, this act is invoked, and an immediate verdict is sent through to speed up the process.
Benefits of Act
1) Speeds Up Process
The purpose of using this act in the court of law is to ensure the process is sped up. There is nothing worse than having a flooded business or a fire go through without having funds to start repair work.
It leads to significant losses that are hard to recover in the short or long-term.
2) Protects Against Shady Insurers
A major benefit is knowing shady insurers will not be able to scheme their way out of making a payment based on the agreement that was signed. This is important for those who are dealing with an accident and need the funds as soon as possible.
The Unfair Claims Settlement Act is one of those policies that are required to ensure things are managed safely for all parties.