September 6, 2019 / 3:35 PM / 9 days ago

U.S. Federal Reserve floats plan to set capital requirements for some insurers

FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Board building on Constitution Avenue is pictured in Washington, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

(Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve Board unveiled a proposal on Friday that would establish requirements for insurance companies it oversees to set aside capital.

The proposed framework would apply to eight U.S. depository institution holding companies that are also “significantly engaged in insurance activities,” the Fed said in a statement.

The eight insurers include USAA, TIAA, State Farm, Ameriprise, AAA, Mutual of Omaha, Ohio Farmers and First American.

Those companies would be required to build from capital requirements that U.S. state insurance regulators already impose, with minimum requirements for the amount of cash insurers must keep on hand and a buffer on top of that minimum, the Fed said.

U.S. state regulators typically oversee insurers, while the Fed supervises a wide range of financial institutions. The eight insurers related to the Fed’s proposal account for a substantial portion of their holding companies’ activity.

Insurers must keep additional cash, or capital, on hand in order to make sure they have ample funds to pay claims.

Insurers face different risks than banks, the Fed noted. However, the minimum standard for the insurers would be comparable to a key measure for banks’ health, known as the “minimum total capital ratio,” which is set at 8% for banks, the central bank said.

The Fed is requesting input from the public and industry about the plan, which builds on an earlier proposal from 2016. The comment period will begin after the plan appears in the Federal Register.

Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn; Editing by Dan Grebler

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