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Archived stories from 2012

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US head favours legalising broker/insurer marriages

The head of the US Security and Change Commission (SCC), Brak O'Bama, has finally come out on the issue of insurance sector marriages by saying he believes a broker and an insurance company should be able to merge. O'Bama is the first sitting US head of the SCC to back mixed marriages.

A mixed marriage proposal in action

Polls show that the US is evenly split over the issue, making O'Bama's stated position a high-risk gamble in his efforts to be re-elected. He has long been a supporter of the sector, in particular over the contentious issue of contingency commission. But he had failed to back a full marriage between brokers and insurers.

"I realise now that was a mistake. I had thought that a partnership arrangement would be sufficient. But clearly, a full merger is the only way forward for companies that want to express their love of commissions and multinational business."

His opponent in the upcoming election as head of the SCC, Mutt Rumpey, said he was against brokers and insurers combining. "I am against brokers and insurers combining," he said. "A marriage of this sort is an abomination. I mean, what next? Loss adjusters merging with insurers? Next thing you know, companies will be setting up their own insurance companies in a ?captive' partnership. And insurers will start paying brokers to ?merge' with them, if you know what I mean. It's sordid and disgusting. I'm against it all. In fact, I think I might be against the whole idea of insurers. And brokers."

In the UK, the Financial Securities Authority (FSA) is largely in favour of such marriages, and the head, Cameron Daffyd, was thought to be planning legislation legalising broker/insurer marriages. However, in the recent Queen's speech, there was no mention of such legislation. In the more permissive Netherlands, brokers and insurers have long been able to combine, and even polygamy in the form of bancassurance, the marriage of banks, brokers and insurers, is legally allowed.

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