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Former Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson Named CEO of NAIC

Former Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson has been named Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
January 24, 2013

Former Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson has been named Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Nelson will lead the NAIC as the group’s primary advocate and chief spokesperson in Washington, D.C.

“PIA congratulates Sen. Ben Nelson on his selection as CEO of the NAIC,” said PIA National Executive Vice President & CEO Ron Von Haden. “His extensive experience is uniquely suited to make him an effective advocate for the preservation of state regulation of insurance. PIA looks forward to continuing the close working relationship it has maintained with Ben throughout his decades of service.”

Prior to retiring from the Senate in 2012 after two terms, Nelson served as Governor of Nebraska from 1990-1998. He also served as Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff for the NAIC (1982-1985); Director of the Nebraska Department of Insurance (1975-1975); and Executive Vice President and then President/CEO of the Central National Insurance Group (1977-1981). He replaces NAIC acting CEO Andrew Beal, who stepped into the role after former CEO Dr. Therese M. Vaughan left the association in November. Beal now returns to his roles as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Legal Counsel.

Throughout the years, Nelson has expressed support for state insurance regulation.

Ben NelsonIn a video interview for the 2006 PIA Federal Legislative Summit, Ben Nelson affirmed his support of state insurance regulation. “I, too, am a states’ rights person,” Nelson said. “I do believe that state regulation has worked so very well because, as Jefferson said, the states are the laboratories of democracy and states have taken different approaches. That, I think has been outstanding. I think it’s improved the whole field of state regulation.”

Nelson also commented in PIA Connection on what was, at the time, a strategic push by advocates for federal insurance regulation to enact a so-called “optional” federal insurance charter as a prelude to federal regulation, which PIA opposes. “If the NAIC continues to do what it’s doing to have smart regulation in the process, I think they can withstand any attack for optional charter, and that they’ll have a good story to tell if they continue to make the kinds of changes that modernization will require,” he said.

One day after his appointment, Nelson said while there is a limited role for the federal government in insurance in partnership with state regulators, there is “no need for dual regulation.” On a conference call on Wednesday Jan. 23, he presented himself as a staunch advocate for state insurance regulation and promised to work at improving the state-based system rather than replacing it.

New NAIC CEO Nelson: ‘No Need for Dual Regulation’ (Insurance Journal 1/23/13)

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