United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Sep 22, 2020

§ 6701.
Operation of State law
(a)
State regulation of the business of insurance

The Act entitled “An Act to express the intent of Congress with reference to the regulation of the business of insurance” and approved March 9, 1945 (15 U.S.C. 1011 et seq.) (commonly referred to as the “McCarran-Ferguson Act”) remains the law of the United States.

(b)
Mandatory insurance licensing requirements

No person shall engage in the business of insurance in a State as principal or agent unless such person is licensed as required by the appropriate insurance regulator of such State in accordance with the relevant State insurance law, subject to subsections (c), (d), and (e).

(c)
Affiliations
(1)
In general

Except as provided in paragraph (2), no State may, by statute, regulation, order, interpretation, or other action, prevent or restrict a depository institution, or an affiliate thereof, from being affiliated directly or indirectly or associated with any person, as authorized or permitted by this Act or any other provision of Federal law.

(2)
Insurance
With respect to affiliations between depository institutions, or any affiliate thereof, and any insurer, paragraph (1) does not prohibit—
(A)
any State from—
(i)
collecting, reviewing, and taking actions (including approval and disapproval) on applications and other documents or reports concerning any proposed acquisition of, or a change or continuation of control of, an insurer domiciled in that State; and
(ii)
exercising authority granted under applicable State law to collect information concerning any proposed acquisition of, or a change or continuation of control of, an insurer engaged in the business of insurance in, and regulated as an insurer by, such State;
during the 60-day period preceding the effective date of the acquisition or change or continuation of control, so long as the collecting, reviewing, taking actions, or exercising authority by the State does not have the effect of discriminating, intentionally or unintentionally, against a depository institution or an affiliate thereof, or against any other person based upon an association of such person with a depository institution;
(B)
any State from requiring any person that is acquiring control of an insurer domiciled in that State to maintain or restore the capital requirements of that insurer to the level required under the capital regulations of general applicability in that State to avoid the requirement of preparing and filing with the insurance regulatory authority of that State a plan to increase the capital of the insurer, except that any determination by the State insurance regulatory authority with respect to such requirement shall be made not later than 60 days after the date of notification under subparagraph (A); or
(C)
any State from restricting a change in the ownership of stock in an insurer, or a company formed for the purpose of controlling such insurer, after the conversion of the insurer from mutual to stock form so long as such restriction does not have the effect of discriminating, intentionally or unintentionally, against a depository institution or an affiliate thereof, or against any other person based upon an association of such person with a depository institution.
(d)
Activities
(1)
In general

Except as provided in paragraph (3), and except with respect to insurance sales, solicitation, and cross marketing activities, which shall be governed by paragraph (2), no State may, by statute, regulation, order, interpretation, or other action, prevent or restrict a depository institution or an affiliate thereof from engaging directly or indirectly, either by itself or in conjunction with an affiliate, or any other person, in any activity authorized or permitted under this Act and the amendments made by this Act.

(2)
Insurance sales
(A)
In general

In accordance with the legal standards for preemption set forth in the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in Barnett Bank of Marion County N.A. v. Nelson, 517 U.S. 25 (1996), no State may, by statute, regulation, order, interpretation, or other action, prevent or significantly interfere with the ability of a depository institution, or an affiliate thereof, to engage, directly or indirectly, either by itself or in conjunction with an affiliate or any other person, in any insurance sales, solicitation, or crossmarketing activity.

(B)
Certain State laws preserved
Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), a State may impose any of the following restrictions, or restrictions that are substantially the same as but no more burdensome or restrictive than those in each of the following clauses:
(i)
Restrictions prohibiting the rejection of an insurance policy by a depository institution or an affiliate of a depository institution, solely because the policy has been issued or underwritten by any person who is not associated with such depository institution or affiliate when the insurance is required in connection with a loan or extension of credit.
(ii)
Restrictions prohibiting a requirement for any debtor, insurer, or insurance agent or broker to pay a separate charge in connection with the handling of insurance that is required in connection with a loan or other extension of credit or the provision of another traditional banking product by a depository institution, or any affiliate of a depository institution, unless such charge would be required when the depository institution or affiliate is the licensed insurance agent or broker providing the insurance.
(iii)
Restrictions prohibiting the use of any advertisement or other insurance promotional material by a depository institution or any affiliate of a depository institution that would cause a reasonable person to believe mistakenly that—
(I)
the Federal Government or a State is responsible for the insurance sales activities of, or stands behind the credit of, the institution or affiliate; or
(II)
a State, or the Federal Government guarantees any returns on insurance products, or is a source of payment on any insurance obligation of or sold by the institution or affiliate;
(iv)
Restrictions prohibiting the payment or receipt of any commission or brokerage fee or other valuable consideration for services as an insurance agent or broker to or by any person, unless such person holds a valid State license regarding the applicable class of insurance at the time at which the services are performed, except that, in this clause, the term “services as an insurance agent or broker” does not include a referral by an unlicensed person of a customer or potential customer to a licensed insurance agent or broker that does not include a discussion of specific insurance policy terms and conditions.
(v)
Restrictions prohibiting any compensation paid to or received by any individual who is not licensed to sell insurance, for the referral of a customer that seeks to purchase, or seeks an opinion or advice on, any insurance product to a person that sells or provides opinions or advice on such product, based on the purchase of insurance by the customer.
(vi)
Restrictions prohibiting the release of the insurance information of a customer (defined as information concerning the premiums, terms, and conditions of insurance coverage, including expiration dates and rates, and insurance claims of a customer contained in the records of the depository institution or an affiliate thereof) to any person other than an officer, director, employee, agent, or affiliate of a depository institution, for the purpose of soliciting or selling insurance, without the express consent of the customer, other than a provision that prohibits—
(I)
a transfer of insurance information to an unaffiliated insurer in connection with transferring insurance in force on existing insureds of the depository institution or an affiliate thereof, or in connection with a merger with or acquisition of an unaffiliated insurer; or
(II)
the release of information as otherwise authorized by State or Federal law.
(vii)
Restrictions prohibiting the use of health information obtained from the insurance records of a customer for any purpose, other than for its activities as a licensed agent or broker, without the express consent of the customer.
(viii)
Restrictions prohibiting the extension of credit or any product or service that is equivalent to an extension of credit, lease or sale of property of any kind, or furnishing of any services or fixing or varying the consideration for any of the foregoing, on the condition or requirement that the customer obtain insurance from a depository institution or an affiliate of a depository institution, or a particular insurer, agent, or broker, other than a prohibition that would prevent any such depository institution or affiliate—
(I)
from engaging in any activity described in this clause that would not violate section 106 of the Bank Holding Company Act Amendments of 1970 [12 U.S.C. 1971 et seq.], as interpreted by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; or
(II)
from informing a customer or prospective customer that insurance is required in order to obtain a loan or credit, that loan or credit approval is contingent upon the procurement by the customer of acceptable insurance, or that insurance is available from the depository institution or an affiliate of the depository institution.
(ix)
(x)
Restrictions requiring clear and conspicuous disclosure, in writing, where practicable, to the customer prior to the sale of any insurance policy that such policy—
(I)
is not a deposit;
(II)
is not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation;
(III)
is not guaranteed by any depository institution or, if appropriate, an affiliate of any such institution or any person soliciting the purchase of or selling insurance on the premises thereof; and
(IV)
where appropriate, involves investment risk, including potential loss of principal.
(xi)
Restrictions requiring that, when a customer obtains insurance (other than credit insurance or flood insurance) and credit from a depository institution, or any affiliate of such institution, or any person soliciting the purchase of or selling insurance on the premises thereof, the credit and insurance transactions be completed through separate documents.
(xii)
Restrictions prohibiting, when a customer obtains insurance (other than credit insurance or flood insurance) and credit from a depository institution or an affiliate of such institution, or any person soliciting the purchase of or selling insurance on the premises thereof, inclusion of the expense of insurance premiums in the primary credit transaction without the express written consent of the customer.
(xiii)
Restrictions requiring maintenance of separate and distinct books and records relating to insurance transactions, including all files relating to and reflecting consumer complaints, and requiring that such insurance books and records be made available to the appropriate State insurance regulator for inspection upon reasonable notice.
(C)
Limitations
(i)
OCC deference

Section 6714(e) of this title does not apply with respect to any State statute, regulation, order, interpretation, or other action regarding insurance sales, solicitation, or cross marketing activities described in subparagraph (A) that was issued, adopted, or enacted before September 3, 1998, and that is not described in subparagraph (B).

(ii)
Nondiscrimination

Subsection (e) does not apply with respect to any State statute, regulation, order, interpretation, or other action regarding insurance sales, solicitation, or cross marketing activities described in subparagraph (A) that was issued, adopted, or enacted before September 3, 1998, and that is not described in subparagraph (B).

(iii)
Construction
Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed—
(I)
to limit the applicability of the decision of the Supreme Court in Barnett Bank of Marion County N.A. v. Nelson, 517 U.S. 25 (1996) with respect to any State statute, regulation, order, interpretation, or other action that is not referred to or described in subparagraph (B); or
(II)
to create any inference with respect to any State statute, regulation, order, interpretation, or other action that is not described in this paragraph.
(3)
Insurance activities other than sales
State statutes, regulations, interpretations, orders, and other actions shall not be preempted under paragraph (1) to the extent that they—
(A)
relate to, or are issued, adopted, or enacted for the purpose of regulating the business of insurance in accordance with the Act entitled “An Act to express the intent of Congress with reference to the regulation of the business of insurance” and approved March 9, 1945 (15 U.S.C. 1011 et seq.) (commonly referred to as the “McCarran-Ferguson Act”);
(B)
apply only to persons that are not depository institutions, but that are directly engaged in the business of insurance (except that they may apply to depository institutions engaged in providing savings bank life insurance as principal to the extent of regulating such insurance);
(C)
do not relate to or directly or indirectly regulate insurance sales, solicitations, or cross marketing activities; and
(D)
are not prohibited under subsection (e).
(4)
Financial activities other than insurance
No State statute, regulation, order, interpretation, or other action shall be preempted under paragraph (1) to the extent that—
(A)
it does not relate to, and is not issued and adopted, or enacted for the purpose of regulating, directly or indirectly, insurance sales, solicitations, or cross marketing activities covered under paragraph (2);
(B)
it does not relate to, and is not issued and adopted, or enacted for the purpose of regulating, directly or indirectly, the business of insurance activities other than sales, solicitations, or cross marketing activities, covered under paragraph (3);
(C)
it does not relate to securities investigations or enforcement actions referred to in subsection (f); and
(D)
it—
(i)
does not distinguish by its terms between depository institutions, and affiliates thereof, engaged in the activity at issue and other persons engaged in the same activity in a manner that is in any way adverse with respect to the conduct of the activity by any such depository institution or affiliate engaged in the activity at issue;
(ii)
as interpreted or applied, does not have, and will not have, an impact on depository institutions, or affiliates thereof, engaged in the activity at issue, or any person who has an association with any such depository institution or affiliate, that is substantially more adverse than its impact on other persons engaged in the same activity that are not depository institutions or affiliates thereof, or persons who do not have an association with any such depository institution or affiliate;
(iii)
does not effectively prevent a depository institution or affiliate thereof from engaging in activities authorized or permitted by this Act or any other provision of Federal law; and
(iv)
does not conflict with the intent of this Act generally to permit affiliations that are authorized or permitted by Federal law.
(e)
Nondiscrimination
Except as provided in any restrictions described in subsection (d)(2)(B), no State may, by statute, regulation, order, interpretation, or other action, regulate the insurance activities authorized or permitted under this Act or any other provision of Federal law of a depository institution, or affiliate thereof, to the extent that such statute, regulation, order, interpretation, or other action—
(1)
distinguishes by its terms between depository institutions, or affiliates thereof, and other persons engaged in such activities, in a manner that is in any way adverse to any such depository institution, or affiliate thereof;
(2)
as interpreted or applied, has or will have an impact on depository institutions, or affiliates thereof, that is substantially more adverse than its impact on other persons providing the same products or services or engaged in the same activities that are not depository institutions, or affiliates thereof, or persons or entities affiliated therewith;
(3)
effectively prevents a depository institution, or affiliate thereof, from engaging in insurance activities authorized or permitted by this Act or any other provision of Federal law; or
(4)
conflicts with the intent of this Act generally to permit affiliations that are authorized or permitted by Federal law between depository institutions, or affiliates thereof, and persons engaged in the business of insurance.
(f)
Limitation
Subsections (c) and (d) shall not be construed to affect—
(1)
the jurisdiction of the securities commission (or any agency or office performing like functions) of any State, under the laws of such State—
(A)
to investigate and bring enforcement actions, consistent with section 77r(c) of this title, with respect to fraud or deceit or unlawful conduct by any person, in connection with securities or securities transactions; or
(B)
to require the registration of securities or the licensure or registration of brokers, dealers, or investment advisers (consistent with section 80b–3a of this title), or the associated persons of a broker, dealer, or investment adviser (consistent with such section 80b–3a of this title); or
(2)
State laws, regulations, orders, interpretations, or other actions of general applicability relating to the governance of corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, or other business associations incorporated or formed under the laws of that State or domiciled in that State, or the applicability of the antitrust laws of any State or any State law that is similar to the antitrust laws if such laws, regulations, orders, interpretations, or other actions are not inconsistent with the purposes of this Act to authorize or permit certain affiliations and to remove barriers to such affiliations.
(g)
Definitions
For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:
(1)
Affiliate

The term “affiliate” means any company that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with another company.

(2)
Antitrust laws

The term “antitrust laws” has the meaning given the term in subsection (a) of section 12 of this title, and includes section 45 of this title (to the extent that such section 45 relates to unfair methods of competition).

(3)
Depository institution
The term “depository institution”—
(A)
has the meaning given the term in section 1813 of title 12; and
(B)
includes any foreign bank that maintains a branch, agency, or commercial lending company in the United States.
(4)
Insurer

The term “insurer” means any person engaged in the business of insurance.

(5)
State

The term “State” means any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, any territory of the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

(Pub. L. 106–102, title I, § 104, Nov. 12, 1999, 113 Stat. 1352.)
cite as: 15 USC 6701