NAMIC Details Efforts to Modernize State Regulation at NAIC Meeting

June 12, 2001

The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) did much more than detail its actions to achieve regulatory modernization at the state level to insurance regulators meeting in New Orleans last weekend.

Naming state legislators the most powerful of allies, citing federal threats to state regulation, and calling for cutting through “the intrigue” to get to the true questions of public policy; Vice President-Regulatory Affairs Roger Schmelzer presented NAMIC’s report at the Summer National Meeting of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

“Let’s cut through all the intrigue and devote our time to the true questions of public policy involved: measurable, enforceable and modernized regulatory reforms,” Schmelzer said at a meeting of the NAIC/Industry Liaison Committee. “This is the foundation on which 21st Century insurance regulation can most effectively be built.

“It is our opinion that the most powerful allies the NAIC can have in the struggle for state regulatory modernization are state legislators. The participation of NCOIL at this forum is a very encouraging sign.

“State legislators have the opportunity to give second wind to the recommendations for reform made by industry and the NAIC. No one can say how long this window will be open, but we know it will not be open indefinitely.

“The NAIC is to be commended for focusing attention on the most pressing reform issues. Convincing regulators to expose statutory and non-statutory approval requirements, move to a 30-day approval and consider the possibility of no approvals at all is equally outstanding.

“In the end, however, the NAIC, as a voluntary organization, remains limited in its ability to be the sole source of insurance regulatory reform. Holding you to that expectation is not realistic. Doing so creates the circumstances for disappointment and defeat on the question of the future of state insurance regulation. There must be a trusting partnership between regulators, industry and legislators to bring about the comprehensive, fundamental reform of public policies on which there appears to be an ever-growing consensus.

The threats to state regulation do not come from industry. They come from Congress which has already held three oversight hearings with another scheduled in two weeks and as many as two more contemplated for later in the year. We can all engage in differing political assessments of the odds of congressional action or the amount of time it might take but two facts are incontrovertible: 1) we are all being held accountable for our action or inaction; and 2) no one wants to be left out of the ultimate solution.”

The full text of Schmelzer’s remarks is available at NAMIC’s Web site, NAMIC Online, at www.namic.org/aajune/testimony.htm.

While meeting in Nashville three months ago, the NAIC asked NAMIC and other trade associations to report this month on their efforts to achieve regulatory modernization at the state level.

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