The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is the U.S. standard-setting and regulatory support organization created and governed by the chief insurance regulators from the fifty states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. State insurance regulators establish standards and best practices, conduct peer review, and coordinate their regulatory oversight through the NAIC. These regulators meeting as members of the NAIC, using the using resources provided by and through the association, provide the national infrastructure supporting the state-based insurance regulation unique to the United States.
The NAIC held its first meeting in 1871, to advance the state-level regulation of insurance
The NAIC first met on a national basis in 1871, with nineteen state insurance departments attending. Today, the NAIC meets three times a year, in various locations across the United States.
The NAIC meetings are a national forum for resolving major insurance issues, allowing state regulators to develop coherent and prudent policies to regulate insurance on a state and national policy is appropriate. The NAIC national meetings are primarily a series of committee sessions, much like the legislative hearings of state legislatures or Congress. The committee system directs regulatory issues to expert groups for review before they are discussed by the membership as a whole.
The NAIC has seven standing committees and various task forces formed to address specific issues as needed. The seven standing committees of the NAIC are Life Insurance and Annuities; Health Insurance and Managed Care; Property and Casualty Insurance; Market Regulation and Consumer Affairs; Financial Condition; Financial Regulation Standards and Accreditation; and International Insurance Relations.
Commissioner Gary Anderson welcomes the 2100 attendees of the five-day national meeting
At the Boston meeting’s official opening ceremony on Saturday, August 4th, the Massachusetts Commissioner of Insurance, Gary Anderson, as the host Commissioner for this summer national meeting, welcomed the attendees on behalf of Governor Baker and the Massachusetts Division of Insurance. This Boston meeting of the NAIC had over 2100 attendees including the insurance regulator from all fifty states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. Territories.
Commissioner Anderson welcoming speech reminded the attendees of the historical role Boston, and the Commonwealth played in the founding of the United States, but also emphasized the dynamic role Boston and the state play as “a concentration of talent and innovative spirit perhaps unmatched in the world.”
The commissioner emphasized the importance of the NAIC national meetings at a time when, “Emerging technologies and revolutionary business models are employed to disrupt long-established, stable markets.” In the Commissioner’s words, these national meetings provide, “the opportunity to learn from each other and work together to develop effective solutions to the challenges we face with the ultimate goal of strengthening the state-based system of insurance regulation that is still central to our success.”
This Boston meeting marked the 224th national meeting of the NAIC. The meeting drew over 2100 registered participants including insurance commissioners, their staff, and insurance industry attendees.
The various proceedings took place at the Copley Marriott Hotel and the Hynes Convention Center over the period from Friday, August 3, to Tuesday, August 7.
Some meetings open to all attendees, but others for regulators only
Over the course of five days of the Boston meeting eighty-nine meetings of NAIC committees, working groups, and task forces took place. The subjects of the meetings ran the gamut on every issue that might affect the regulation of insurance including:
- producer licensing;
- market regulation and consumer affairs;
- capital adequacy;
- antifraud initiatives;
- receivership and insolvency;
- innovation and technology;
- terrorism insurance implementation;
- surplus lines; and
- financial regulation standards and accreditation
To name only a few.
Unsurprisingly, many of the meetings were designated as being “for regulators only.”
An informative program on innovation and regulatory challenges
One of the public meetings that garnered a large, attentive audience was the August 6, program of the NAIC Center for Insurance Policy and Research focused on the question, “Can Regulation Keep Up with Innovation?”
A distinguished panel moderated by Michael F. Consedine, the NAIC’s Chief Executive Officer, included:
- Nick Gerhart, Chief Administrative Officer, Farm Bureau Financial Services and former Insurance Commissioner of Iowa from 2013 to 2016.
- Doug Ommen, Present Commissioner of the Iowa Insurance Department.
- Michael S. Pieciak, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation.
- Julie Sherlock, Head of Insurance Strategy, Boost Insurance.
- Chester Spatt. Golub Distinguished Visiting Professor of Finance at MIT Sloan School.
This two-hour informative panel discussion drew over five hundred attendees and focused on exploring:
- How innovation, new technologies and changing consumer expectations are rapidly reshaping the insurance industry;
- Steps regulators are taking to understand better, as well as promote, innovation that benefits consumers in the insurance marketplace;
- How regulation will need to innovate to keep pace with the changes occurring in the insurance industry.
The meeting ends August 7
The Boston meeting is scheduled to end on Tuesday, August 7. The next national meeting of the NAIC is scheduled for San Francisco, from November 15 to November 18, 2018.