P.M. BRIEFING : Insurance Industry Probe Urged

From Times Wire Services

The chairman of the Senate Banking Committee has requested the Treasury Department to conduct a comprehensive examination of the nation’s insurance industry, according to a letter released today.

“In recent months, there has been a steady stream of reports of distress in America’s insurance industry,” Sen. Donald W. Riegle Jr. (D-Mich.) wrote in a Dec. 20 letter to Treasury Secretary Nicholas F. Brady.

Although the federal government does not regulate the insurance industry, Riegle said, the recent collapse of the thrift industry and the trouble facing several commercial banks “makes clear that the federal government cannot afford to ignore serious problems in any industry that lies close to the heart of the American economy.”

Riegle requested the Treasury to report by next September.