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NAIC meeting with CIRC over Chinese ownership of insurance company concerns

Topinsurance regulatory officials will meet with the ChinaInsurance Regulatory Commission in New York on July 26 to discuss security andsupervisory issues involving Chinese ownership of U.S. insurers.

Thoseexpected to attend the meeting include NAIC President John Huff, NAICPresident-Elect Ted Nickel and New York State Department of Financial ServicesSuperintendent Maria Vullo, according to sources. A New York DFS spokesmanconfirmed Vullo's participation in themeeting, but did not comment on the agenda. One source noted that the NAICwants Chinese companies that play by different rules in governance andvaluation to stop buying U.S. companies. Regulators would not confirm theagenda.

Huff,Missouri's insurance director, andNickel, Wisconsin's insurance commissioner,traveled to China earlier this month and made their case to the CIRC there, butmade little headway, according to one source. Huff and Nickel wereparticipating in the annual China-U.S. InsuranceDialogue. In addition to NAIC members and staff, the U.S. delegation includedfederal government and insurance industry representatives, the NAIC stated onits website. "The group discussed avariety of topics including cybersecurity, consumer protection and industryinnovations," according to the NAIC.

Inaddition, the U.S. Treasury and its Federal Insurance Office officials willmeet with CIRC officials while they are here in the U.S. A Treasuryspokesperson declined to comment. The NAIC said it would issue a release on themeeting July 26.

Whileno one company or its target has been identified as part of the regulatorymeeting agenda, previous press reports have discussed U.S. government concernswith Chinese ownership of companies for security and transparency reasons. A report in Newsweekin late June discussed concerns about the Shanghai-based 's ownership of Wright USA, which insures through legal liabilitypolicies U.S. intelligence officers, including operatives from the CentralIntelligence Agency. The Newsweekarticle noted that Fosun, owned by a billionaire with "high-levelCommunist Party" connections, was putting the parent of Wright USA,Ironshore Inc., upfor sale "perhaps in response to U.S. government concerns." Ironshorefiled for an IPO onJuly 22.

Inaddition, an Anbang LifeInsurance Co. Ltd. consortium is in the process of acquiringFidelity & GuarantyLife. The Iowa Insurance Division isconducting an analysis of the application filed by Anbang to acquire control ofthe annuity company.

"Upon a determination that the application is complete,a public hearing will be scheduled. At that time, a copy of the Form A will beuploaded to the Iowa Insurance Division's website," a spokesman for the Iowa division said in an email July 25.

One person played down any current and future Anbang/Fidelity& Guaranty Life acquisition security concerns, noting that the Chinesebuyer has been twice approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in theUnited States, a U.S. interagency group that scrutinizes foreign investments and is chaired bythe Secretary of the Treasury.

Fidelity & Guaranty Life filed March 15 thatthe CFIUS had concluded that the company's proposed with Anbang has "nounresolved national security concerns."

An email to CIRC was not answered immediately.