The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) says that since January, 10 state insurance departments have sent more than 20 regulators and NAIC has sent staff to support the office of Puerto Rico’s insurance commissioner.
Puerto Rico has been recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September. Shortly following the storms, the NAIC set up a call center in its central office in Kansas City, Mo. to assist with communications to consumers and insurers. Since January, more than 20 state insurance regulators have traveled to the territory to assist the Puerto Rico department, fielding consumer inquiries, tracking complaints and helping the department with the high volume of traffic.
“NAIC leadership received calls from state insurance regulators asking how they could help their colleagues in Puerto Rico even before the first hurricane made landfall,” said Julie Mix McPeak, NAIC president, who is and Tennessee insurance commissioner.
McPeak said Puerto Rico will have the “ongoing support of state insurance regulators who are committed to helping the Puerto Rico insurance department assist residents during these recovery efforts.”
States that have sent staff to Puerto Rico include Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Utah and West Virginia. The NAIC has also sent staff to provide user support for State Based Systems, a web-based application used to support regulatory functions.
NAIC Data Reporting Analyst Julio Lara was among the staff who volunteered to assist in Puerto Rico, as well as to serve as staff support in the call center. “Coming face to face with the devastation after hearing stories over the phone is really humbling,” Lara said. “I do not recall a day on the phones when I didn’t get multiple thank yous and blessings from the consumers for the assistance we were providing. Seeing the needs of insurance consumers in Puerto Rico reminded me how important our jobs really are.”
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