Insurance – Federal Regulation – Authority of Federal Trade Commission to Regulate False Advertising by Insurance Companies as Affected by the McCarran-Ferguson Act

Petitioner, the FTC, issued cease and desist orders prohibiting respondent health and accident insurance companies, doing business in interstate commerce, from disseminating allegedly false and deceptive advertising through the medium of local agents. These orders, issued pursuant to the FTC act, sought to proscribe such activity both in states that had statutes prohibiting unfair and deceptive practices and in states that did not. The Courts of Appeals for the Fifth and Sixth Circuits concluded that the FTC had no authority to regulate such advertising in states which had prohibitory legislation. On certiorari to the United States Supreme Court, held, affirmed per curiam. The state insurance legislation in this case precludes regulation by the FTC because of the provision in the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945 which allows FTC regulation of insurance only “to the extent that such business is not regulated by State law …. ” Federal Trade Commission v. National Casualty Co., 357 U.S. 560 (1958).