Responding to the increased state advocacy needs of member companies, the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) Board of Directors has approved an expanded commitment to state and regulatory government affairs.
A new State Advocate will represent NAMIC in about a dozen states beginning in 2003, working with state insurance trade associations to enact pro-insurance legislation and regulations. The newly appointed advocate will join with current NAMIC staff engaged in state legislative advocacy.
“Our principal objective is to reform state insurance regulation,” said Roger Schmelzer, vice president of Regulatory Affairs for NAMIC. “We have made clear that the way to accomplish reform is through state legislatures and that we are aggressively pursuing a state-based solution. The addition of a government affairs professional demonstrates NAMIC’s commitment to this objective.”
Schmelzer added that the new state advocate will “build on NAMIC’s outstanding relationships with state insurance trade associations across the country. State trades have invaluable local political expertise that NAMIC can augment with a national perspective on trends and developments.”
Also joining the NAMIC staff will be a Regulatory Manager who will serve as the principal resource to member company executives and compliance personnel seeking assistance on compliance-related issues in the states.
This new position is being added as part of the association’s ongoing mission to “have a positive impact on our member-companies’ bottom line,” according to Schmelzer. “A significant amount of company operating costs is used to meet regulatory requirements in the states. Our goal is to add a professional with experience in technical property/casualty compliance who can help our members more smoothly and less expensively navigate state regulatory requirements.”
The Regulatory Manager will work with a committee of multi-state member companies to help identify and resolve issues that arise in individual states.
NAMIC has steadily increased its state government affairs services over the past several years to complement its federal efforts. NAMIC administers one of the preeminent grassroots lobbying programs in Washington, D.C. Representatives of hundreds of NAMIC member companies have visited Capitol Hill over the last decade to lobby members of Congress on issues as diverse as superfund, tax reform and mutual redomestication. Recently, NAMIC has expended significant energy speaking against federal insurance regulation.
“It is clear from talking to members of Congress, Senators and their staffs that pressure for regulatory reform will continue. This means the states must act independently to produce a reformed regulatory system,” said Schmelzer. “We consider this an opportunity to provide leadership and direction on behalf of our membership.”