The Development of International Norms for Insurance Regulation

45 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2009

Date Written: November 18, 2009


The development of international norms for insurance has not progressed as far or as deeply as the development of international norms for banking. Several factors have affected this process. First, the efforts to develop such norms are relatively new. The International Association of Insurance Supervisors (“IAIS”) has existed for less than fifteen years while the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has existed for over thirty years. Second, the membership of the IAIS makes it harder for that organization to achieve consensus on principles and standards than for the Basel Committee. The IAIS has members from almost 140 nations, including both developed and less developed nations, while the Basel Committee is comprised of only thirteen members from only developed nations.

Finally, the fact that insurance is regulated by the states within the United States has hindered the ability of the United States to conduct effective international negotiations on insurance regulation. The individual states have not adopted uniform insurance laws. As a result, they do not necessarily espouse the same positions when participating in international bodies like the IAIS. In addition, the federal government has difficulty translating the soft law standards developed by the IAIS into hard law in treaties and international agreements because it currently lacks the power to force the states to change their insurance laws to conform to the negotiated standards. The states also cannot translate the soft law standards developed by the IAIS into hard international laws because they currently are not authorized to conduct negotiations for treaties or binding international agreements on insurance. Until the United States creates a body capable of conducting international negotiations that can bind the states, the development of international insurance standards will continue to proceed more slowly than the development of standards for other financial services sectors.

Keywords: Insurance, International Law, International Norms, Insurance Regulation

JEL Classification: F00, F13, F15, F23, G22, G28, K00, K23, K33

Suggested Citation

Brown, Elizabeth F., The Development of International Norms for Insurance Regulation (November 18, 2009). Brooklyn Journal of International Law, Vol. 34, No. 3, p. 954, 2009, Available at SSRN:

Elizabeth F. Brown (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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