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FIO waiting on US election outcome to release report

The Federal Insurance Office (FIO) has missed a crucial 30 September deadline for releasing its mandatory report on the US and global reinsurance sector and is now likely to delay its publication until after the US elections in November, The Insurance Insider understands.

Sources with knowledge of the situation said the report was unlikely to be issued until after the presidential race, in order not to aggravate state regulators or to avoid imposing heavy regulation before the election.

The FIO was given until the end of last month to submit a report to Congress on the breadth and impact of the global reinsurance market on the US.

The public were requested to comment on the report over the two months until the end of August on topics ranging from the role the global reinsurance market plays in supporting insurance in the US to the effect of domestic and international regulation on reinsurance in the country.

The feedback showed support for an overarching national regulator in the US and for eliminating collateral requirements and stumbling blocks for reinsurance start-ups.

There was also opposition to government catastrophe programmes due to risk concentration.

The report's delay could be related to its slight overlap with the EU-US Dialogue project, which includes FIO director Michael McRaith on its steering committee.

The project released its first report contrasting the EU and US regulatory systems for public comment on 27 September, with feedback expected by the end of October.

The FIO was also mandated to produce a report on the modernisation of the US insurance sector by 21 January 2012. The report has still not appeared.

In April, The Insurance Insider reported that the modernisation study would be delayed until after the presidential election - a scenario that is looking increasingly likely. McRaith has not provided an explanation for the delays.

However James Veach, a partner at Mound Cotton Wollan & Greengrass, said that because the FIO reports do not address "hot button" health insurance issues, they should have a lot less political impact than in the 2006 elections.

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