Correction: Obama Nominates Additional Directors But Producer Registry NARAB Still Falls Short

Correction: The original version of this article omitted two of President Obama’s nominees, Colorado Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar and Susan Louise Castaneda of The Hartford. Insurance Journal regrets the error.

President Barack Obama has nominated more individuals to sit on the governing board of a new national insurance producer licensing system. His three nominations this month bring the total of Obama’s nominations to 10, still shy of the 13 needed for the board of the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers (NARAB) to operate.

The Senate has not yet acted on any of the nominations. Industry groups have been calling for the White House and Senate to move more quickly to fill the seats on the board to activate the program.

On July 7, the administration nominated two regulators and an insurance company executive:

In May, President Obama nominated Colorado Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar. Salazar has previously served as a regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and before that as president and chief executive officer of Valley Wide Health Systems Inc.

In April, the administration nominated independent insurance agent Angela Ripley, president of VW Brown Insurance Service in Columbia, Maryland. Ripley is also a national director for the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America and previously worked at Erie Insurance Group.

In March, Susan Louise Castaneda, assistant vice president and compliance officer for Operations, Technology and Data for The Hartford, was nominated. She has held numerous positions at The Hartford since 1992, including director of Property and Casualty Operations, compliance director for Personal Lines, underwriting lead for Personal Lines and underwriting manager, as well as consumer affairs positions. Prior to joining The Hartford, she workedfor Farmers Insurance and Allstate Insurance.

In January, one year after the law’s enactment, President Obama sent to the Senate the names of two state regulators, one property/casualty producer representative and one life/health producer representative for the NARAB board:

NARAB gives agents and brokers who do business in multiple states the option of joining a national association through which they can satisfy various states’ licensing requirements through one process and portal. Participation in the NARAB is voluntary.

NARAB’s 13-member board is supposed to include eight state insurance commissioners, three individuals with expertise in property/casualty insurance and licensing, and two members with similar expertise in the life or health insurance arena.

The slow pace of nominations and the inaction by the Senate have frustrated supporters of the program who argue that NARAB will reduce costs and increase competition among insurance producers.

Last week, the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) once again called on federal officials to implement the NARAB program, which was enacted as part of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015 on January 12, 2015. The group of state officials who deal with insurance matters said the delay is causing “a lot of unneeded frustration” and hurting consumers.

“It is disconcerting that, 18 months after enactment and 15 months after the statutory deadline to appoint members, a sufficient number of members have not yet been appointed and confirmed so the committee can even meet,” said Commissioner Tom Considine, NCOIL CEO. “Because the Obama administration and the United States Senate have not fully acted, consumer and producer benefits remain unavailable.”

NAMIC, the insurer trade group, in a statement applauding Suglia’s nomination, also said it “strongly urges the administration to continue filling out the NARAB board and for the Senate to swiftly take up and approve these appointments.”