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PIA Participates in NAIC/NIPR E-Regulation Conference

More than 700 insurance regulators and industry representatives attended the 8th annual E - Regulation Conference and Information Technology Expo in Kansas City, Missouri...
June 1, 2007

David M. EppsteinBy David M. Eppstein
Director of State Affairs
PIA National

More than 700 insurance regulators and industry representatives attended the 8th annual E - Regulation Conference and Information Technology Expo in Kansas City, Missouri May 7-9 and PIA was there. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) sponsored the conference.  PIA National is a board member of NIPR and we were delighted to participate in the conference sessions, provide comments on issues of importance to our members, and network with the regulators and other industry representatives who attended.

The NAIC's E-Regulation Conference was originally established for regulators and insurers to learn about the changing face of insurance regulation so that all interested parties are able to participate in and adapt to the changing environment. In addition, the conference creates a forum for regulators and insurers to collaborate on issues of common concern and develop solutions that are effective in meeting the needs of both parties.

This conference is targeted for those individuals that are directly involved in producer licensing, rate and form filing, market regulation, company licensing and/or information technology.  All of these issues are important to PIA members and our participation affords us the opportunity to be at the forefront as new initiatives are discussed, developed and implemented.

The conference kicked off with a keynote panel discussion with NAIC Vice President and New Hampshire Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny and NAIC Secretary - Treasurer and West Virginia Insurance Commissioner Jane Cline. NAIC Executive Vice President and CEO Catherine J. Weatherford facilitated the discussion.

The panelists focused on how our current state-based regulatory system provides a greater opportunity for regulators and industry to work together to meet the needs of consumers than any proposed federal system could.  The panelists specifically noted that the state departments have a great deal of experience with policy offerings, insurance coverage and claims.  A federal system would take years to match the experience and dedication to customer service of the states, if ever.

The panelists noted that consumer protection and natural disaster response are becoming increasingly important, citing recent damaging storms across the Midwest. The regulators and NAIC staff all agreed in their firm belief that the state regulation of insurance can best meet consumer needs.

Potential New Project

Perhaps the most important meeting that we participated in was not even part of the official agenda.  Rosanne Mead serves as a regulator in the Iowa Insurance Department and is the Project Leader for the NAIC Producer Licensing Working Group regarding consideration of drafting and adopting a Producer Licensing Best Practices Handbook.  Ms. Mead convened a special meeting of a handful of industry representatives to discuss the project.  PIA took the position that such a handbook could be very helpful to insurance departments, particularly if it would help the departments interpret the Producer Licensing Model Act in a more uniform manner.  PIA also made it clear that we did not want to see this project take any resources or momentum away from other producer licensing efforts at the NAIC.  We think that this project could have a positive effect on the NAIC's efforts to get more uniformity in the non-resident licensing process by fostering more discussion on the current inefficiencies in the system.

The project is at the very beginning stage now and we will be providing you more updates as we go along, but so far, we envision a handbook that will assist regulators in the licensing process "from issue to revocation."  The handbook will be similar in scope to the recently adopted NAIC Company Licensing Best Practices Handbook and will be based on the Producer Licensing Model Act and all uniform guidelines that have been adopted by the Producer Licensing Working Group.  The handbook will address certain processes important to state insurance departments such as administering a testing program for producers, obtaining and submitting producer fingerprints, and obtaining producer licenses.

Producer Licensing Working Group

The Producer Licensing Working Group held an interim meeting during the E-Reg Conference.  The Working Group discussed their model flood bulletin and noted that more than forty states have issued it.  The Working Group also heard comments from industry on the proposed Producer Licensing Handbook and all the comments were positive so we think they will go forward with the project.

Finally, the Working Group received a report from NIPR that, beginning this summer, producers will be able to change their address online at no charge.  We think this will be a great service for producers and as a NIPR board member, PIA advocated for this service to be free.

David M. Eppstein is Director of State Affairs for PIA National.

PIA Connection

This article originally appeared in the May 2007 issue of PIA Connection.