Washington is again accredited by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to monitor the solvency of insurers. State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said regaining accreditation was his top priority when taking office in January. At the time, Kreidler, a Democrat who was elected last November, expressed optimism that reaccreditation would be granted by the NAIC during the organization’s June quarterly meeting; in fact, it was.
Washington lost its solvency regulation accreditation in 1999, after an NAIC audit found that the Office of the Insurance Commissioner lacked the staffing, training, effective exam procedures, timeliness of exams and management oversight to adequately oversee insurer financials. Former Insurance Commissioner Deborah Senn blamed the Legislature for failing to approve funding for the OIC that would allow the agency to offer higher salaries to attract and keep financial analysts. The OIC was consistently losing its auditors to the private sector and higher-paying jobs.
Critics of Senn charged that she spent far too much of the OIC’s funds on public relations personnel in an attempt to raise her profile for a run at higher office. Senn lost to Maria Cantwell last year in Washington’s Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.
Kreidler, meanwhile, pledged to “improve the timeliness, accuracy and reliability of our work so that consumers are protected against the devastating effects of financial insolvency by insurers.”
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