Regulators Name Consumer Liaison Reps for 2005

March 15, 2005

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners recently named its funded consumer liaison representatives for 2005.
Established in 1992, the program promotes consumer representation and interaction with NAIC members, industry and interested parties through dedicated individuals committed to serving the public interest.

“This NAIC program is critical to our mission of consumer protection,” said Diane Koken, NAIC President and Pennsylvania Commissioner of Insurance. “The funded consumer liaison representatives are an essential voice in improving the insurance regulatory system.”

The following are 2005 NAIC funded consumer liaison representatives:

Birny Birnbaum, The Center for Economic Justice, Austin, Texas. Birny serves as executive director of CEJ and has been active at the NAIC as both a regulator and consumer advocate. Birnbaum served as associate commissioner for Policy and Research and Chief Economist at the Texas Department of Insurance and has served as a designated NAIC consumer representative for several years.

Brendan Bridgeland, Center for Insurance Research, Cambridge, Mass. The Center for Insurance Research (CIR) is an independent, non-profit advocacy group that represents the interests of insurance consumers and policyholders nationwide. CIR follows public policy developments in all lines of business and events within the industry generally, but focuses much of its attention on the issues of Mergers and Acquisitions, Access to Insurance Data, and Mutual to Stock Conversions.

Bonnie Burns, California Health Advocates, Scotts Valley, Calif. Burns has been a consultant and consumer advocate for more than 25 years with experience in Medicare, Medicare supplement insurance long-term care insurance and insurance counseling programs that assist seniors regarding these issues.

Constance Chamberlin, Housing Opportunities Made Equal, Inc., Richmond, Va. Chamberlin is president and CEO of HOME, a position she has held for 17 years. She leads an agency that is nationally recognized for the quality of its housing counseling and fair housing work, and its role in increasing housing choice and improving communities.

Brenda J. Cude, Ph.D., Department of Housing and Consumer Economics, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga. Cude is an established researcher and educator and has been a professor at the University of Georgia since 1998. As an NAIC consumer representative, she has worked on issues including the readability and disclosure of information to insurance consumers, consumer education and financial literacy.

Elizabeth Goldsmith, Ph.D., College of Human Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida. Goldsmith is an advisor to the White House on women’s and girls’ economic education, the U.S. Dept. of Justice on debtor education, the National Park Service, The Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition, the University of the West Indies, and the United Nations. Her teaching focuses on consumer economics, personal finance, and family resource management.

Kathy Greenlee, Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Topeka, Kansas. Greenlee serves as the Director of the Kansas Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, which is responsible for investigating and resolving complaints on behalf of residents of Kansas long-term care facilities. She also has eight years of experience as an insurance regulator at the Kansas Insurance Department, where she was Director of the Consumer Assistance Division and General Counsel.

Karrol Kitt, Ph.D., CFP, The University of Texas at Austin Human Ecology Department, Austin, Texas. Kitt is an educator and researcher who teaches in the Family Economics area, principally Personal & Family Finance. She has a special interest in educating consumers about insurance and the use of it to protect their financial assets. At NAIC, Kitt has advocated for consumer information and disclosure.

Mila Kofman, Georgetown University Health Policy Institute, Washington, D.C. Kofman conducts a range of studies on the uninsured problem focusing on private market reforms, regulation, access, affordability, adequacy of job-based and individual health coverage, and private purchasers including associations, HIPCs and multiple employer arrangements. She is recognized as a national expert on regulation of group purchasing arrangements (MEWAs), unauthorized insurance, insurance regulation and ERISA.

Lorez Meinhold, Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, Denver, Colo. Meinhold has been the Executive Director of the Initiative since July 2001. She was previously with the Colorado Public Interest Research Group (CoPIRG) for 10 years and served in many roles. The Initiative is a unified voice for increased access to quality, affordable health care. It has grown to become a statewide network of health care consumers and over 100 organizations committed to barrier-free access to quality health care for all Coloradans.

Marcy Morrison, Mayor, City of Manitou Springs, Colo. Morrison is serving her second term as mayor. In addition, she is a trustee of a 400-bed hospital in Colorado Springs. She has also served on the Colorado Department of Insurance Consumer Council and as a consultant to the county health department on legislative affairs.

Bill Newton, Florida Consumer Action Network, Tampa, Fla. Newton is FCAN’s Executive Director, and has worked on insurance issues for 17 years. FCAN is a statewide non-profit organization with 40,000 members that advocates on insurance reform, utility regulation, health care, and environmental issues. Founded in 1984, FCAN is the leading voice for consumers in Florida.

Sonya Schwartz, J.D., Families USA, Washington, D.C. Schwartz focuses on the private health insurance market, access to health insurance for the uninsured, and protecting Medicaid from budget cuts and harmful structural changes. Established in 1983, Families USA is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the achievement of affordable, quality health care for all Americans, especially our nation’s most vulnerable residents.

Ware Wendell, J.D., Texas Watch, Austin, Texas. As Policy Director of Texas Watch, Wendell focuses on developing and implementing civil justice and insurance reforms that benefit Texas consumers. Texas Watch is a non-partisan research and advocacy organization working to improve consumer and insurance protections for Texas families.

Jeff Williams, J.D. Legal Aid of Western Missouri, Kansas City, Missouri. Williams is an attorney in the Economic Development Unit of Legal Aid of Western, where he has worked for the past 20 years representing faith and neighborhood-based community development organizations in the fields of consumer law, administrative law, and community development finance. His objective since first becoming a Funded Consumer Representative in 2001 has been to seek improved and broader cooperation between the community development industry, regulators and the insurance industry.

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