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NAIC, NCOIL Presidents Speak During PIA Meetings

The president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Sandy Praeger gave the keynote address February 27 at the PIA Federal Legislative Summit and...
March 6, 2008

The president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Sandy Praeger gave the keynote address February 27 at the PIA Federal Legislative Summit and the president of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) Rep. Brian Kennedy of Rhode Island, spoke to the PIA National Board of Directors March 2. Both Praeger and Kennedy reconfirmed their respective organizations' opposition to OFC and thanked PIA for its steadfast support of state regulation of insurance.

"We're seeing now more than ever the importance for remaining state-focused," said Praeger, as she discussed the American Insurance Association's (AIA) criticism of her recent open letter opposing OFC.  "To help you make sure that there's a good market and a good environment for fair selling of products is something we really pride ourselves in. We see Wall Street pressure on companies to produce profits, to keep their ratings up, and sometimes we get a little concerned that those profit motives are causing our consumers to be harmed."

Praeger said the NAIC's mission can be summed up with three words: deter, detect and defend. "We're there to deter bad things from happening, we're there to detect when bad things happen in the marketplace, and we're there to defend our consumers. You in the agent community are the front line. I know in Kansas I look to our agent community to understand what's going on in the marketplace, and often times I hear first from the agents when something is happening that they know is inappropriate."


NAIC President and Kansas Commissioner of Insurance Sandy Praeger, poses
with PIA National President Robert Page; J. Robert Wooley, former Insurance
Commissioner of Louisiana and now advocating on behalf of professional
insurance agents as an attorney with Adams and Reese, LLP; PIA National
Executive Vice President Len Brevik; Andy Beal, NAIC Deputy Executive Vice
President and Chief Legal Officer (CLO); and Johnny Lee, Chairman of the PIA
National Federal Affairs Committee.

On Sunday, March 2, Kennedy spoke to the PIA Board of Directors. He said he appreciates having the PIA as an ally on state regulation.  With the help of PIA affiliates nationwide, Representative Kennedy knows what a powerful ally PIA is in the fight against federal regulation.  He also said that we would work together to modernize the state system; a system that he acknowledged as not ideal, but still the best in the world. President Kennedy also said that he would keep focusing on transparency at the NAIC.  NCOIL hopes for a more "open door" policy and clarity of state rights from NAIC under their new leadership and pledged to work with them.

"I was so pleased to see the item on your agenda that you just acted on," said Kennedy, referring to the resolution reaffirming PIA's opposition to OFC and support of state insurance regulation that had just been unanimously adopted by the PIA National Board. "NCOIL is adamantly against Optional Federal Charters. We at NCOIL just passed a resolution on February 29 that reiterates that; we're going to be sending that resolution on to our congressional delegations as well."

"The so-called National Insurance Act, like the proposal to repeal McCarran-Ferguson, is another example of legislation that does nothing for consumers and would create a new bloated bureaucracy that does not benefit America's taxpayers," Kennedy said. "The proposal has the potential to allow large financial services entities to enter and exit markets across the country, whenever and wherever they desire. This could potentially disrupt the marketplaces and diminish consumer choices."

Kennedy expressed appreciation for PIA's fundamental role in their groundbreaking study on state authority. The recommendations and findings in the report will be the foundation of NCOIL activity for years to come.


NCOIL President Rep. Brian Kennedy of Rhode Island, 2nd from left, with PIA
National President Robert Page, Johnny Lee, Chairman of the PIA National
Federal Affairs Committee and PIA National Executive Vice President Len
Brevik.