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NAIC UPDATE: Oklahoma Commissioner Doak Asks for Probe of FIO

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) meeting had just gotten under way in New Orleans, and Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak wasted no time in bringing hot-button issues before the organization
March 6, 2012

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) meeting had just gotten under way in New Orleans, and Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak wasted no time in bringing hot-button issues before the organization. Doak has already weighed in on the constitutionality of the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) and the contentious question of whether religious institutions should be required to cover contraception services for their employees. Doak began circulating a proposed resolution barring the NAIC from supporting any legislative action that would “deny citizens’ constitutionally protected religious rights.”

Also this week, Doak announced he asked the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office to investigate whether the Federal Insurance Office is constitutional. Doak said the FIO, which was created under the Dodd-Frank Act, may not be in line with the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945, which granted the authority to regulate insurance to the states.

“The Dodd-Frank Act and the Federal Office of Insurance is something I view as duplicative and another overreach of the federal government,” Doak said. “These issues are things that I think should make us ask the questions: What are the plans for the federal government? Why do we need a Federal Office of Insurance when state-based regulation has worked for many, many years?” Doak’s questions about the FIO’s constitutionality come as the agency works to release a much anticipated report on the state of the U.S. insurance industry.

PIA National Secretary/Assistant Treasurer Richie Clements addressed a meeting of the NAIC’s Property & Casualty Transparency and Readability of Consumer Information Working Group. . He focused on the role of the agent in helping consumers determine the right coverage for them. The regulators, including Commissioners Doak (OK) and Chaney (MS) were appreciative of Richie’s testimony.

U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) spoke at the Government Relations Leadership Council, which is the NAIC’s version of a federal affairs committee. Vitter said he is “hopeful” we will get a five-year extension of NFIP with meaningful reform. He said there is not much talk of an optional federal charter (OFC) and said he is against it. He also said he fought to keep insurance out of Dodd-Frank and that we have to be vigilant in watching FIO and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Senator Vitter said he thinks many in Washington will see the upcoming FIO report as biased in favor of federal regulation when it comes out. He said that it wasn’t an accident that Treasury was tasked with the report, and the questions were biased.