Skip to Content

Proposed Rule

International Services Surveys: BE-140, Benchmark Survey of Insurance Transactions by U.S. Insurance Companies With Foreign Persons

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Bureau of Economic Analysis, Commerce.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking.

SUMMARY:

This proposed rule would amend regulations of the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Department of Commerce (BEA) to set forth the reporting requirements for the Benchmark Survey of Insurance Transactions by U.S. Insurance Companies with Foreign Persons. This proposed rule is for a new survey, which would collect data on cross-border reinsurance and other insurance transactions from U.S. insurance companies. If approved, the survey would be conducted every five years with the first survey covering calendar year 2008.

The data will be used by BEA in estimating the insurance services component of the U.S. International Transactions Accounts (ITAs) and other economic accounts complied by BEA.

DATES:

Comments on this proposed rule will receive consideration if submitted in writing on or before 5 p.m. June 9, 2009.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments, identified by RIN 0691-AA69, and referencing the agency name (Bureau of Economic Analysis), by any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. For agency, select “Commerce Department—all.”
  • E-mail: Christopher.Emond@bea.gov.
  • Fax: Chris Emond, Chief, Special Surveys Branch, (202) 606-5318.
  • Mail: Chris Emond, Chief, Special Surveys Branch, Balance of Payments Division, U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, BE-50, Washington, DC 20230.
  • Hand Delivery/Courier: Chris Emond, Chief, Special Surveys Branch, Balance of Payments Division, U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, BE-50, Shipping and Receiving Section, M100, 1441 L Street, NW., Washington, DC 20005.

Public Inspection: All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commentator may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. BEA will accept anonymous comments.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Chris Emond, Chief, Special Surveys Branch, Balance of Payments Division, (BE-50) Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230; e-mail Christopher.Emond@bea.gov; phone (202) 606-9826.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This proposed rule would amend 15 CFR 801.9(a) and create 15 CFR 801.12 to add the reporting requirements for the BE-140, Benchmark Survey of Insurance Transactions by U.S. Insurance Companies with Foreign Persons. This new survey would be mandatory for those U.S. insurance companies that exceed the exemption level and that engage in the covered transactions. The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

Description of Changes

The proposed survey would be conducted by BEA every five years, with the first survey covering calendar year 2008, under the International Investment and Trade in Services Survey Act (22 U.S.C. 3101-3108), hereinafter, “the Act.” For the initial survey, BEA would send the survey to potential respondents in June of 2009; responses would be due by September 1, 2009.

If implemented, the survey would collect information from U.S. insurance companies on the following covered transactions: (1) Premiums earned, and (2) losses, on reinsurance assumed; (3) premiums incurred, and (4) losses, on reinsurance ceded; (5) premiums earned, and (6) losses, on primary insurance sold; (7) sales of, and (8) purchases of, auxiliary insurance services. The exemption level for the proposed survey is $2 million based on one of the eight categories listed above. Insurance companies that exceed this threshold must supply data on the amount of their insurance transactions for each category, disaggregated by country.

U.S. insurance companies that are exempt from the reporting requirements because they do not meet the criteria for reporting the BE-140 survey form are requested to provide, on a voluntary basis, the estimates of their covered insurance transactions. Any U.S. insurance company that receives the BE-140 survey form from BEA, but that does not report data because they are exempt under the regulations, must provide information on the reason why they do not wish to voluntarily provide the requested information. This requirement is necessary to ensure compliance with reporting requirements and efficient administration of the Act by eliminating unnecessary follow-up contact. If a U.S. insurance company does not receive the BE-140 survey form and is not otherwise required to report under these regulations, then the company is not required to take any action.

BEA maintains a continuing dialogue with respondents and with data users, including its own internal users, to ensure that, as far as possible, the required data serve their intended purposes and are available from the existing records, that instructions are clear, and that unreasonable burdens are not imposed. In reaching decisions on what questions to include in the survey, BEA considered the Government's need for the data, the burden imposed on Start Printed Page 16338respondents, the quality of the likely responses (for example, whether the data are available on respondents' books), and BEA's experience in previous benchmark, annual, and quarterly surveys.

Survey Background

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), U.S. Department of Commerce, would collect the survey under the International Investment and Trade in Services Survey Act (22 U.S.C. 3101-3108), hereinafter, “the Act.” Section 4(a) of the Act (22 U.S.C. 3103(a)) provides that the President shall, to the extent he deems necessary and feasible, conduct a regular data collection program to secure current information related to international investment and trade in services and publish for the use of the general public and United States Government agencies periodic, regular, and comprehensive statistical information collected pursuant to this subsection.

In section 3 of Executive Order 11961, as amended by Executive Orders 12318 and 12518, the President delegated the responsibilities under the Act for performing functions concerning international trade in services to the Secretary of Commerce, who has redelegated them to BEA.

Data from the proposed survey are needed to monitor U.S. exports and imports of insurance services and other international insurance transactions; analyze their impact on the U.S. and foreign economies; compile and improve the U.S. international transactions, national income and product, and input-output accounts; support U.S. international trade policy on insurance services; assess and promote U.S. competitiveness in international trade in services; and improve the ability of U.S. business to identify and evaluate market opportunities.

Executive Order 12866

This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of E.O. 12866.

Executive Order 13132

This proposed rule does not contain policies with Federalism implications sufficient to warrant preparation of a Federalism Assessment under E.O. 13132.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This proposed rule contains a collection-of-information requirement subject to review and approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act. The requirement will be submitted to OMB as a request for a new collection of information.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of the law, no person is required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget Control Number.

The benchmark survey, as proposed, is expected to result in the filing of reports from approximately 1000 respondents, approximately 500 respondents would report mandatory or voluntary data on the survey and approximately 500 respondents would not report data. The respondent burden for this collection of information would vary from one respondent to another, but is estimated to average 8 hours annually, including time for reviewing the instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information for the respondents that file mandatory or voluntary data and one hour for respondents that do not report data. Thus, the total respondent burden for the survey is estimated at 4,500 hours.

Comments are requested concerning: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the burden estimate; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in the proposed rule should be sent both to BEA, through any of the methods listed above, and to the Office of Management and Budget, O.I.R.A., Paperwork Reduction Project, Attention PRA Desk Officer for BEA, via e-mail at pbugg@omb.eop.gov, or by FAX at 202-395-7245.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Chief Counsel for Regulation, Department of Commerce, has certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy, Small Business Administration, under provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 605(b)), that this proposed rulemaking, if adopted, will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. While the survey does not collect data on total sales or other measures of the overall size of the businesses that respond to the survey, historically the respondents to the existing quarterly survey of international insurance transactions has been comprised mainly of major U.S. corporations. The proposed benchmark survey will be required from U.S. insurance companies whose covered transactions with foreign persons exceeded $2 million for calendar year 2008. Thus, the exemption level will exclude most small businesses from mandatory coverage. Any small businesses that may be required to report would likely have engaged in only a few covered transactions and so the burden on them would be relatively small.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 15 CFR Part 801

End List of Subjects Start Signature

Dated: April 3, 2009.

J. Steven Landefeld,

Director, Bureau of Economic Analysis.

End Signature

For the reasons set forth in the preamble, BEA proposes to amend 15 CFR part 801, as follows:

Start Part

PART 801—SURVEY OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE IN SERVICES BETWEEN U.S. AND FOREIGN PERSONS

1. The authority citation for 15 CFR part 801 continues to read as follows:

Start Authority

Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301; 15 U.S.C. 4908; 22 U.S.C. 3101-3108; and E.O. 11961, 3 CFR, 1977 Comp., p.86, as amended by E.O. 12318, 3 CFR, 1981 Comp., p. 173, and E.O. 12518, 3 CFR, 1985 Comp., p 348.

End Authority

2. Revise § 801.9(a) to read as follows:

Reports required.

(a) Benchmark surveys. Section 4(a)(4) of the Act (22 U.S.C. 3103) provides that benchmark surveys of trade in services between U.S. and unaffiliated persons be conducted, but not more frequently than every 5 years. General reporting requirements, exemption levels, and the years of coverage for the BE-120 survey may be found in § 801.10; general reporting requirements, exemption levels, and the years of coverage for the BE-80 survey may be found in § 801.11; and general reporting requirements, exemption levels, and the years for coverage for this proposed survey may be found in § 801.12. More detailed Start Printed Page 16339instructions are given on the forms themselves.

* * * * *

3. Add § 801.12 to read as follows:

Rules and regulations for the BE-140, Benchmark Survey of Insurance Transactions by U.S. Insurance Companies with Foreign Persons.

(a) The BE-140, Benchmark Survey of Insurance Transactions by U.S. Insurance Companies with Foreign Persons, will be conducted covering calendar year 2008 and every fifth year thereafter. All legal authorities, provisions, definitions, and requirements contained in § 801.1 through § 801.9(a) are applicable to this survey. More detailed instructions and descriptions of the individual types of transactions covered are given on the report form itself. The BE-140 consists of three parts and two schedules. Part 1 requests information on whom to consult concerning questions about the report and the certification section. Part 2 requests information about the reporting insurance company. Part 3 requests information needed to determine whether a report is required, the types of transactions that would be reported, and which schedules apply. Each of the two schedules covers the types of insurance services to be reported and the ownership relationship between the U.S. insurance company and foreign transactor and is to be completed only if the U.S. insurance company has transactions of the types covered by the particular schedule.

(b) Who must report.

(1) Mandatory reporting. A BE-140 report is required from each U.S. insurance company with respect to the transactions listed below, if any of the eight items was greater than $2 million or less than negative $2 million for the calendar year covered by the survey on an accrual basis:

(i) Premiums earned, and

(ii) Losses, on reinsurance assumed;

(iii) Premiums incurred, and

(iv) Losses, on reinsurance ceded;

(v) Premiums earned, and

(vi) Losses, on primary insurance sold;

(vii) Sales of, and

(viii) Purchases of, auxiliary insurance services. U.S. insurance companies that file pursuant to this mandatory reporting requirement must complete parts 1 through 3 of Form BE-140 and all applicable schedules. The total amounts of transactions applicable to a particular schedule are to be entered in the appropriate column(s) and these amounts must be distributed among the countries involved in the transactions.

(2) Voluntary reporting. If, during the calendar year covered, the U.S. insurance company's transactions do not exceed the exemption level for any of the types of transactions covered by the survey, the U.S. person is requested to provide an estimate of the total for each type of transaction. Submission of this information is voluntary. The estimates may be judgmental, that is, based on recall, without conducting a detailed records search.

(3) Any U.S. insurance company that receives the BE-140 survey form from BEA, but is not reporting data in either the mandatory or voluntary section of the form, must complete Parts 1 through 3 of the survey. This requirement is necessary to ensure compliance with reporting requirements and efficient administration of the Act by eliminating unnecessary follow-up contact.

(c) Covered types of insurance transactions. The BE-140 survey is intended to collect information on U.S. international insurance transactions. The types of insurance transactions covered are reinsurance assumed from or ceded to insurance companies resident abroad, primary insurance sold to foreign persons, and receipts and payments of auxiliary insurance services.

End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. E9-8148 Filed 4-9-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-06-P