With a landmark report from the newly created Federal Insurance Office – complete with recommendations for reforming the U.S. system of insurance regulation – set to arrive any day now, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners finds itself, understandably, in something of an existential crisis.
Should changes in the long-standing state-based system of regulation prove to be in the offing, will the venerable collection of the nation’s state insurance regulators move forward as an informal trade organization whose members simply meet to compare notes, much like the National Governors Association? Will it take on a more formal statutory role as a national regulator, perhaps through one or more interstate compacts? Or will it be, as it has always been in the past, something else, something neither fish nor fowl?
Key observers are watching. Those include critics like Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., who in the past has argued for a federal regulatory option. But they also include fervent supporters of state-based regulation, like the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, who have raised concerns about major initiatives that were launched during the NAIC’s recent March 3-6 meetings in New Orleans that appear to violate the group’s established procedures for debate and deliberation.
In this week’s edition of the FIRE Podcast, we talk with Robert Detlefsen, NAMIC’s vice president of public policy, about the recent meetings, including the status of the NAIC’s climate change disclosure project and new initiatives to create a working group focused on low income consumers in the auto insurance market and to add a “charge” that the group investigate ways to expedite post-disaster insurance payouts.