National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII) chairman Tony Nicely wrapped up the 57th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles with an address urging the industry to continue their support of state regulation.
“Since its inception, NAII has been committed to supporting and enhancing a competition-driven regulatory system because a competitive marketplace assures consumers the lowest pricing, most diverse products, best service and greatest number of insurance providers from which to select,” Nicely said.
“However, some people feel that with the increased diversity of financial services companies the time is ripe for consideration of federal regulation of insurance, ” he continued. “In the coming year, the discussion of regulatory modernization will intensify in both the U.S. Congress and state legislatures.
“Regardless of your individual views on the role of the federal government in regulating the insurance business, federal intervention – if it ever comes – would be years away. Therefore, we must make every effort to improve the current state-based system because it is the regulatory system under which we will be working for the foreseeable future,” Nicely added.
He noted that there are still many states in which insurers find it difficult to conduct business. “Rates are artificially suppressed and consumers’ choices have become limited.”
The NAII has developed the “State Improvement Plan” to advocate for and enforce regulatory reforms in each state working in conjunction with the National Association Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
Nicely stated that the success of NAII’s plan in 2003 will be largely based upon the success of commercial modernization action.
“It is at the state level that this entire state versus federal regulation issue will be decided,” Nicely said. “We will either reform at the state levels or we’ll be back here in a few years making plans for sharing regulatory control with federal agencies.”
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