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Former NAIC President to Help Set Up Insurance System in Iraq

The immediate past president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) will be spending the next two months in Iraq, helping that country establish...
April 14, 2004

The immediate past president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) will be spending the next two months in Iraq, helping that country establish an insurance system. Mike Pickens, commissioner of the Arkansas Insurance Department, is working through the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Pickens told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the insurance system in Iraq was run by Saddam Hussein and his cronies. "If they wanted to pay claims, they did. If they didn't want to, they didn't," said Pickens, who added the Iraqi insurance system will have to be rebuilt from the ground up. Pickens said there will be some cultural differences to address. "For example in Iraq, they believe life insurance should be illegal. They see it as the company gambling against God when you're going to die."

The former NAIC president will live in the Babylon Hotel, across the Tigris River from one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces, and travel to his office by armored van while wearing a flak jacket and helmet. His office will be in a double-wide trailer. Being from Arkansas, "I ought to feel right at home in a double-wide trailer," Pickens quipped.

Arkansas to Set Up Insurance for Iraqis (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette 4/6/04, subscription)

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