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NAIC's Csiszar Outlines Goals, Issues for 2004

Speaking before attendees at the 2004 NAIC Commissioners' Conference in Washington, D.C., in early February, NAIC President and South Carolina Insurance Director Ernst Csiszar wasted...
March 10, 2004

Speaking before attendees at the 2004 NAIC Commissioners' Conference in Washington, D.C., in early February, NAIC President and South Carolina Insurance Director Ernst Csiszar wasted no time in presenting the NAIC's priorities for a critical, and quickly moving, year.

"I personally believe that a year is a very short period, but I fully intend to spend most of my time focusing on the issues and relationships here in Washington," Csiszar said. "This year we have to be focused on Washington, as Congress is contemplating introducing [federal oversight] legislation."

Whether potential legislation ultimately translates to a dual charter or a federal national standards approach, the NAIC must have a strong voice on Capitol Hill that is both unified and consistent - and built around emphasizing current state regulatory modernization efforts, Csiszar said.

"The three prongs to modernization include speed-to-market, meaning product standards; the second is the interstate compact; and the third prong is the solvency area in which we need to show some progress," said Csiszar. "Alabama Commissioner Walter Bell, who is chairing the speed-to-market efforts; New York Superintendent Gregory Serio, who is heading up the Government Affairs Task Force; and Iowa Commissioner Terri Vaughan and Florida Director Kevin McCarty, who are both involved in risk assessment - I'm going to look to all of them, as well as the rest of the membership, to show that we are making progress."

In demonstrating that progress, it will be important to communicate beyond the U.S. House of Representatives, where much of the attention has been recently focused.

"There is another side to this," said Csiszar, "and that is the Senate, of course. What I am finding is that the Senate, in a way, can be very fertile ground for us. We have actually made considerable progress on the House side in getting our story across and getting representatives in the House to understand our business and to understand why state regulation is so important.

"In the Senate, there is perhaps less understanding with respect to our efforts, which is both an opportunity and a threat. The threat, of course, is that our foes, if you will, have been promoting the dual charter bill. But it is also an opportunity, because I think we need to get our story across in the Senate and do the work that is required to make sure they understand why state regulation is so significant and why it deserves to survive in and of itself, without any kind of a dual charter approach.

"Above all," he said, "working collectively with both sides of Congress, throughout the year, will define the NAIC's success in 2004.

"I am very much an advocate of being at the table and participating in this, fully understanding that we have our vision, we have our territory, if you will, and we know what we're good at and we know what we can do," Csiszar said. "I'm confident that all of us can come to consensus on that, and more, going forward throughout this pivotal year."

This article originally appeared in the March 2004 PIA Connection.