Barnett Bank of Marion County, N.A. v. Nelson

In Barnett Bank of Marion County, N.A. v. Nelson, 517 U.S. 25, 116 S.Ct. 1103, 1112, 134 L.Ed.2d 237 (1996), the Court analyzed a federal statute permitting a small-town national bank to "act as the agent for any fire, life, or other insurance company." 517 U.S. at 116 S.Ct. at 1106 (quoting 12 U.S.C. 92 (1916)). Noting that the statute explicitly referred to insurance, the Court held that it specifically related to the business of insurance. Id. at 116 S.Ct. at 1111. The Court contrasted implicit references to insurance made by general language such as "business activity" with the words "finance, banking, and insurance," which make such a reference explicitly and specifically. Id. The Court explained that an act "specifically relates to the business of insurance" where "the language of the Federal Statute . . . is not general but refers specifically to insurance." Barnett Bank, 517 U.S. at 41. This does not mean, however, that the statute must relate only to insurance. As the Court explained: A statute may specifically relate to more than one thing. Just as an ordinance forbidding dogs in city parks specifically relates to dogs and to parks, so a statute permitting banks to sell insurance can specifically relate to banks and to insurance. Neither the McCarran-Ferguson Act's language, nor its purpose, requires the Federal Statute to relate predominantly to insurance. To the contrary, specific detailed references to the insurance industry in proposed legislation normally will achieve the McCarran-Ferguson Act's objectives . . . . Id. at 41.