Big insurers are fine with Democrats’ financial regulation 

Not that this will curb his populist rhetoric, but President Obama is running out of opponents in his push for new financial regulations.

While he pitches his fight as a battle against the wealthy special interests, he more or less has Wall Street’s giants on board, and now we get word that the big insurers aren’t really putting up a fight.

SNL Financial, a trade publication for the insurance industry, carries this enlightening piece:

The financial reform bill currently under debate in the U.S. Senate is “proceeding pretty nicely,” with little cause for concern in the insurance sector, according to C. Robert Henrikson, chairman, president and CEO of life insurance giant MetLife Inc….

Despite protests from some quarters of the industry — notably United Services Automobile Association’s concerns about the impact of the “Volcker rule” ban on proprietary trading on their mixed banking and insurance business model — other industry leaders likewise have opined in recent days that the bill is likely to have a mostly benign effect on insurers.

Again, don’t expect this fact to get in the way of Obama portraying this bill as a broadside to the special interests. And that reformer-vs-industry narrative, like an old blanket or a bowl of chicken-noodle soup, is too familiar and too comfortable for the mainstream press to shed. It’s up to trade journals like SNL — which aim to arm readers with valuable facts rather than entertain them with a nice tale — to shine a light on what’s actually happening.

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Timothy P. Carney

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