McCarran Ferguson Act Law and Legal Definition
The McCarran–Ferguson Act, is a United States federal law that exempts the business of insurance from most federal regulation, including federal anti-trust laws to a limited extent. The McCarran–Ferguson Act was passed by Congress in 1945. The Act provides that the "business of insurance, and every person engaged therein, shall be subject to the laws of the several States which relate to the regulation or taxation of such business." Congress passed the McCarran-Ferguson Act primarily in response to the Supreme Court case of United States v. South-Eastern Underwriters Ass'n, 322 U.S. 533, 64 S. Ct. 1162, 88 L. Ed. 1440 (1944). Before the South-Eastern Under-writers case, the issuing of an insurance policy was not thought to be a transaction in commerce, which would subject the insurance industry to federal regulation under the commerce clause. In South-Eastern Underwriters, the Court held that an insurance company that conducted substantial business across state lines was engaged in interstate commerce and thus was subject to federal antitrust regulations. Within a year of South-Eastern Underwriters, Congress enacted the McCarran-Ferguson Act in response to states' concerns that they no longer had broad authority to regulate the insurance industry in their boundaries.