During the Winter National Meeting in Anaheim, members of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) elected regulators from South Carolina, North Dakota and Oregon to serve as the association’s 2004 officers. South Carolina Insurance Director Ernst Csiszar, current NAIC vice president, was elected president. North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jim Poolman was elected vice president, and Oregon Insurance Administrator Joel Ario was re-elected for a second consecutive term as Secretary-Treasurer.
“We made tremendous progress in 2003, highlighted by the adoption of our new plan of action for regulatory reform, called Reinforced Commitment: Insurance Regulatory Modernization Action Plan,” Csiszar said. “That was just the beginning. 2004 is the time for us to take a strong step forward. I will continue working with all of our constituencies to meet the challenges facing state-based regulation and push toward the concrete goals outlined in our plan.”
Csiszar was appointed director of the South Carolina Department of Insurance in 1999. He serves as the chair of the NAIC’s International Insurance Relations Committee and vice chair of the association’s Internal Administration Subcommittee. Csiszar is the NAIC representative for the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) and chairman of the IAIS Subcommittee on Securitization. He also serves as a chairman of that organization’s Reinsurance Committee. He has represented the NAIC on a variety of development initiatives at the request of the United States Department of Commerce and the United States Agency for International Development.
Prior to his appointment as director in South Carolina, Csiszar served as the president and chief executive officer of Seibels Bruce Group, Inc. of Columbia, S.C., from 1995 to 1998. He was a visiting professor at the University of South Carolina School of Business from 1993 to 1995. He also served as managing co-director of a Switzerland-based investment-banking firm from 1979 to 1988. Originally from Romania, Csiszar immigrated to Canada in 1966.
“This is a tremendous team of officers and I am enthusiastic about our potential in 2004,” Poolman added. “We have each been focused on consumer protection and strengthening the system of state regulatory authority in recent years, and that will continue to be our mandate going forward.”
Poolman was elected insurance commissioner in North Dakota in 2000, and currently co-chairs the NAIC’s Government Affairs Task Force and the Corporate Owned Life Insurance (COLI) Working Group. He is vice-chair of the Producer Licensing Working Group and the Industry Liaison Committee. Prior to his election as insurance commissioner, Poolman served four terms in the North Dakota House of Representatives.
“We have outlined some concrete goals and challenges specifically in the market regulation and market conduct areas, so I felt strongly about remaining as Secretary-Treasurer for another term,” Ario said. “In this position, I feel as though I can take a more direct role overseeing progress toward our goals, so I’m glad that the members have given me the opportunity to continue to pursue our agenda in 2004.”
Ario has been the insurance administrator in Oregon since 2000. He currently serves as the chair of the NAIC’s Market Regulation and Consumer Affairs Committee and has been a leading national voice for strengthening state market regulation programs by enhancing uniformity and collaboration, while supporting state diversity when it comes to matters of local concern. Ario also serves as president and board chair for the NAIC’s affiliate, the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR). He has been with the Oregon Insurance Division since 1995 and previously served as a public policy analyst and executive director in the non-profit sector.
Arkansas Insurance Commissioner Mike Pickens, the NAIC’s president during 2003, will serve as immediate past president in 2004.
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