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NCOIL Vice President Vows to Pursue Issue of NAIC's Closed Meetings

Rhode Island Rep. Brian Kennedy, vice president of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL), vows to continue to pursue the issue of closed-door meetings...
May 15, 2007

Rhode Island Rep. Brian Kennedy, vice president of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL), vows to continue to pursue the issue of closed-door meetings being held by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

In an interview with the National Underwriter, Kennedy said state insurance commissioners have an obligation to abide by their states' open meetings laws, an obligation that does not cease when they attend meetings of the NAIC.

"Commissioners need to understand that they have this obligation to abide by their states' [sunshine] laws," Kennedy said. While attending several recent NAIC conferences in his role as an NCOIL officer, Rep. Kennedy said he found unwarranted closing of meetings to be a common practice and expressed his apprehension regarding the process at the NAIC Spring Meeting, and subsequently to NAIC President Walter A. Commissioner Bell in two letters.

Kennedy said statements by Bell in a letter to him that the NAIC is not subject to open meeting laws because it is a private, not-for-profit organization and that the NAIC does not have any regulatory authority raise a lot of questions. "If that is the case, how can they come out with accreditation standards if they have no regulatory authority?," he asked. "Why are they receiving millions of dollars in yearly fees [for databases] if they are a not-for-profit organization?"

"I will start by contacting state legislators," he said "That will be the first step. I never expected a confrontational situation. I just think it is time to bring the issue to a head. My hope was to bring this up for discussion in San Francisco. But when I read the letter and when I saw the response [May 4 NAIC release], I realized that the NAIC had closed ranks."

"This is not a subject that is going to be dropped," Kennedy said. "Some legislators are planning to approach their states' attorneys general and ask them to look into the matter."

NCOIL's Kennedy Assails NAIC's 'Closed Door' Meetings (National Underwriter 5/7/07)
 
NCOIL, NAIC Leaders Spar Over Meeting Secrecy (National Underwriter 5/14/07)

NCOIL Pursues Dispute Over NAIC Open Meetings (PDF file, The Standard 5/11/07)