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2024 NAIC President and Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Andrew N. Mais addresses the Opening Session of the 2024 NAIC Spring National Meeting.

March 21, 2024

NAIC President Andrew N. Mais: “Not Everyone Gets a Chance to Help. We Do.”

Addressing his first Opening Session as NAIC president during the organization’s 2024 Spring National Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday, March 16, Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Andrew N. Mais discussed his theme for the year and laid out the NAIC’s 2024 Strategic Priorities.

Urging attendees to “Mind the (Insurance) Gap” in 2024 and work to “[e]nsure that as many people as possible have access to as many relevant products as possible without any unnecessary barriers,” Commissioner Mais described the collaborative nature of such a mission, along with the required commitment to innovation. The latter includes continuing to welcome “new and diverse voices” to an evolving sector.

Commissioner Mais echoed 2023 NAIC President and Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance Director Chlora Lindley-Myers’ recent ‘Regulators’ podcast comment that the challenges we face are the opportunities to protect and equip consumers and to either refine ideas or start fresh.

As he presented the NAIC’s five Strategic Priorities for 2024, Commissioner Mais also passionately talked about the role, unique experience, and expertise of state insurance regulators in confronting today’s pressing issues.

Concluding the Opening Session with a major announcement, Commissioner Mais revealed the selection of Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner Gary D. Anderson as the NAIC’s next CEO, and he expressed the organization’s thanks to NAIC CLO, COO, and Acting CEO Andy Beal for his leadership, wisdom, and example.

You can read Commissioner Mais’ full presidential address below.


So, here we are.  Reunited, and it feels so soon.

Don’t get me wrong. I meant it when I welcomed everyone. It is great for everyone to be back together, especially considering the past few years. I don’t think we will take that privilege for granted again. I’m excited to spend time with my colleagues. With my friends. Even with Commissioner Godfread.

But seriously. It feels like we were just wishing each other happy holidays and looking forward to 2024. Yet here we are, almost a quarter into the new year.

Before we know it, we’ll be saying the same thing about the Summer National Meeting and then the Fall National Meeting.

I’ve long been reminded that time waits for no one as I’ve watched my hair go gray and disappear, my daughter grow up—and now my granddaughter is here. Time marches on, whether we’re ready or not, and the best we can do is to make sure that we learn its lessons and use the minutes and the days that we are afforded well.

You don’t get a long term as NAIC president. Each NAIC president has one year in office before passing the baton, so time is never far from your mind.

As I considered what I wanted to communicate with my year, I kept going back to one of my core passions, one of the reasons I’m here: closing the protection gap.

You know, on paper, the idea is pretty basic. You want to ensure that as many people as possible have access to as many relevant products as possible without any unnecessary barriers.

Implementing that idea, of course, is far more complicated. But this principle goes to the heart of what we do here.

The data on gaps represents more than numbers. Each statistic is an individual facing some of life’s greatest risks. Access means opportunity and stronger footing. It is a lifeline. For so many, it is hope.

So, in choosing a theme for 2024, I borrow from the London Tube’s caution for riders stepping on or off the train, and I urge us all—regulators, industry, consumers, and interested parties—to “Mind the Gap.”

I include everyone in this challenge because that is what it will take to close the coverage gaps: all of us standing shoulder to shoulder, working together.

The NAIC is built on collaboration, and each national meeting—take a look at the flags around you—each national meeting showcases this core value, as we come together to listen, to share our different and unique perspectives, and to make progress on the pressing issues we all face.

This is a holistic outlook. It’s an active approach. It requires communication. It requires trust. I don’t know about you, but I like—I like—that I’m not in this alone, and I can count on my fellow regulators to have my back.

And along with collaboration, innovation represents another key component to closing insurance gaps.

Innovation maximizes our existing tools. It reduces waste, and it creates new ways forward, all to make a bigger impact on as many people as possible.

I believe we as regulators should be fast followers to innovation. We should ensure that the path is bordered by the necessary guardrails but also that it is smooth and points straight ahead.

As part of the insurance sector’s commitment to innovation, our industry must continue welcoming new and diverse voices.

In February, we celebrated Insurance Careers Month, and I use the word “celebrated” intentionally.

I doubt most people outside this room—and before you started, most people inside this room—would put insurance on their top five list of exciting careers.

But I do. Now I do.

I came to insurance as a second career, after being badgered—yeah, let’s say strongly encouraged—by a longtime friend who had become an insurance regulator in New York after retiring from the police force.

It took him quite some convincing to get me to consider this.

But I will say here, I will say now, that next to the day I proposed to my wife, Susan Mary, it is the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. Certainly the best of my work life.

We are fortunate. We have a chance to go home each day knowing we made a difference. Everyone sees the headlines. Not everyone gets a chance to help. We do.

I work with dedicated, passionate people in Connecticut, at the NAIC, and throughout the world who push me to be better. They broaden my horizons, and they have a vision for a brighter, better tomorrow.

Our field is growing. We all know our field is changing. And each one of us is on the front lines.

So, yes, we did have a lot to celebrate during Insurance Careers Month as we invited others to join us, and state insurance departments and the NAIC took advantage of the platform to get the message out.

But it is a message, it is a message for the entire year and not just a month or two. Let’s remember that.

Broadening the range of voices throughout our departments and throughout the industry will help us better reach underserved and historically underrepresented communities as we continue adapting and leading in an evolving world.

The NAIC is dedicated to doing just that, and just last month, we were proud to announce that the New Avenues to Insurance Careers Foundation awarded its first scholarship to a student at Troy University in Alabama, providing that student with $2,500 for the 2024 spring semester.

Now, there is more. That’s not all, because this is the part that I find really exciting.

That student is also eligible to participate in an internship program at the Alabama Department of Insurance. Thank you, Mark.

It’s a new avenue. New outreach. New people. One stone rolling downhill that will gather ever more. It’s a milestone step.

And we are excited for the students the foundation will be able to inspire in the years ahead. Long after I’m gone, long after we’re gone, this is a legacy of which we can be proud.

Now, as we look at the current landscape, we can see there are many challenges. Many of the obstacles are familiar. Many are new.

And I am reminded of something our most immediate past president, Director Chlora Lindley-Myers, said in “The Regulators” podcast we recorded together. Now, I recorded a podcast a day or two ago here, and I just realized, I mean, it just, it seemed like yesterday, but this was in November at the Fall National Meeting.

And I’m looking over here at Director Lindley-Myers, who’s used to my harassing her, and I’m sure she’s wondering what I’m going to bring up.

When I asked Chlora about the challenges and the opportunities in the years ahead, she responded that the challenges are the opportunities.

And I love that.

Each challenge represents a chance to ensure consumers are being properly served. That we are closing the gap, and that consumers understand the coverage options available and whether those options are sufficient for them. The challenges are also an opportunity to ensure companies keep their promises. That they know the marketplace, have the consumer in mind, and, certainly in these days as we read the headlines, that they protect their data.

It is a chance to revisit what has and hasn’t worked. To either refine it or to start afresh.

And there are so many opportunities to be had because there is so much yet to do.

Now, here at the NAIC, this year we’ve identified five strategic priorities, and this is not all we’re going to do. Our work is broader, but as a membership, the 56 of us have decided this will be the top focus. We’re going to focus on these five areas this year, and I will briefly go through them in alphabetical order.

I’m going to start with one that’s pretty much on everybody’s, every regulator’s radar throughout the world: climate risks, natural catastrophes, and resilience. They provide some of the most pressing questions we face, as even a quick look at the headline, any newspaper, or any website pretty much any day will tell you. That collaboration I mentioned earlier is especially critical to these issues that affect not only each of our state departments but also supervisors across the world.

You may have heard, sadly, about the deadly storms this week in Indiana, in Ohio, and Kentucky, and other parts of the U.S. To Commissioner Beard, Director French, and Commissioner Clarke, know that we support you, and we send condolences to all of those affected.

And to Commissioner Brown, see Commissioner Brown over there, whose home state of Texas recently experienced historic wildfires, we also stand with you, as we do with other states facing challenges from severe weather.

There is a lot we cannot control, but what we can do is ensure consumers and regulators are armed with the knowledge and the tools to mitigate risk, to speed resilience, and, yes, to mind the protection gap.

Last year, our Climate and Resiliency Task Force adopted the National Climate Resilience Strategy for Insurance, which includes launching a comprehensive NAIC Climate Risk Dashboard, training department staff, advocating for pre-disaster mitigation funding—because that’s a much better investment than spending money afterwards—and, within the NAIC, strengthening existing workstreams.

We will also pursue actions including developing scenario analysis resources for state regulators. Together with the Cat. Modeling Center of Excellence housed within the NAIC’s Center for Insurance Policy and Research, we are casting a wide net to enhance research and to support action.

As I’m sure you’ve heard, we also recently announced the launch of a multi-state, comprehensive data call that will add granular data on the affordability and availability of property coverage for consumers to our already robust financial data on solvency and investments.

I want to thank Arkansas Insurance Commissioner Alan McClain and the (C) Committee, the Property and Casualty Insurance Committee, for their leadership in developing this data call, which will gather data from homeowners insurers representing more than 80% of the U.S. property insurance market by premium volume.

The Property & Casualty Market Intelligence Data Call represents the collaborative work that we in this room have undertaken towards solving critical challenges in our property markets.

We as state insurance regulators are the experts in our individual insurance markets. We are on the front lines every day helping consumers navigate interactions with insurance carriers. And we have the regulatory authority to make sure that insurers make good on their promises. That is our mission. That will always be our mission.

Now, along with climate, all eyes remain on the economy. It’s a time of ongoing uncertainty and changing investment strategies, and, at a time like this, insurer financial oversight and transparency are even more important. Competition has intensified. Everybody’s chasing alpha, and that means in many ways, more investment risk.

Our “Framework for Insurer Investment Regulation” acknowledges the numerous challenges with the solvency system and suggests a shift in focus from blind reliance on credit rating providers to a more robust due diligence framework.

These plans include modernizing the role of the NAIC’s Securities Valuation Office, the SVO, and enhancing its capabilities, as well as developing a modernized Economic Scenario Generator and continuing to implement the Asset Adequacy Testing framework in order to increase transparency and precision in the assessment of cash flows for insurers’ structured securities holdings.

State insurance regulators, those you see around this table, have long led the way on addressing the improper marketing of insurance products, and our efforts take place on several fronts, including state-level coordination and enforcement and working with Congress and federal agencies when we have to.

Currently, the NAIC is building a tool hosted at the NAIC website that will enable consumers to check insurance producers’ licenses and find more information on their state regulators’ websites. Other steps include model laws. We’re going to modify the model laws to give state regulators power over health insurance lead generators.

You may have heard us say it before. Actually, you may have heard us say it a million times, but we will not stop. Now you will hear it again.

The NAIC continues to call on Congress to restore states’ regulatory authority over the Medicare Advantage market, as we are best positioned to quickly assist and protect consumers, most especially the most vulnerable among us.

Now, we are particularly endeavoring to mind the protection gap in the realm of race, insurance, and financial inclusion. These are complex, multifaceted, and interrelated issues that transcend insurance, but we are not letting that stop us from tackling them head on.

Through our Special Committee on Race and Insurance, the CIPR, and the Member Diversity Leadership Forum, the NAIC has staked its ground as a leader in the conversation, providing opportunities for sharing best practices, research, and education, as well as proposing statutory or regulatory changes.

I already touched on the importance of innovation, so it shouldn’t surprise you that insurers’ use of artificial intelligence and cyber risk are also top priorities for us this year. Insurance carriers’ need for data and their capability for obtaining it in comprehensive and new ways must be balanced, responsibly balanced, with consumer privacy expectations.

Our Innovation, Cybersecurity, and Technology Committee, under Commissioner Birrane, and I know I see Commissioner Birrane, they’ve got a packed agenda. I’m not sure how they do what they do. They’ve done a tremendous amount of work, and this year’s agenda is even more packed. It includes monitoring support and adoption of our recently issued Model Bulletin on the Use of Artificial Intelligence Systems by Insurers.

Other steps include facilitating additional educational and engagement opportunities, proposing a regulatory framework for overseeing third-party data and predictive models, and completing the development of the Cybersecurity Event Response Plan.

As I said earlier, these are focus areas, but they are not everything on our plate. Other items include working towards comparability in the international arena for our Aggregation Method, implementing and executing on model law and bulletin adoption, and, especially, enhancing Member service and connectivity through our three-year strategic plan, State Connected, which I see the director from Idaho over here. He led that plan. Brought that plan into fruition. And we are now executing on that plan.

We as individual state regulators also recognize that our strength comes from our collective action. We will stay connected through State Connected, because that is what helps us best help consumers.

Of course, over the next days, you’re going to hear about the regulatory policy, but I do, given the importance of this, I do want to mention our continued progress in converting the goals and the objectives of State Connected into a reality. As we sit here today, NAIC staff and Members have 27 active initiatives underway to improve the products, services, and support the NAIC provides our regulatory system.

These initiatives streamline industry’s regulatory touch points. They better assist and inform consumers, and they enhance the effectiveness and the connectivity of the regulatory community.

Yes, time marches on, and just looking to my left, I can see that Commissioner Godfread is glad I’m almost about out of that for now.

But as we head into our various sessions, I hope you will see each one—each session, each conversation, each discussion—as a chance to make a difference. As an opportunity to mind—and to close—the gap.

I hope over the coming days, and I know NAIC meetings—I’ve been coming to these forever—I know these days can be long, but I hope that you will see what I see: an exciting time to be in a forward-thinking field with great people.

I’m going to go to some notes I have here now that I want to make sure I get right, because this is for the NAIC in many ways a time of transition.

When I say it’s an exciting time to be in a forward-thinking field with great people, that is as true for us as regulators as it is for those who support us and work with us at the NAIC.

And, speaking of great people, it is my distinct privilege and honor as NAIC president to announce that just this morning, a few hours ago, two/three hours ago max, the NAIC’s Executive Committee unanimously voted to name a new chief executive officer of the NAIC, Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner Gary Anderson. Please join me in congratulating Gary.

Gary was appointed commissioner of the Massachusetts Division of Insurance in 2017, which is about three years after he joined. And I have to say for those of us in the Northeast Zone, we have had the pleasure of working with Gary all these years, and he’s been an incredible leader.

Gary has a distinguished career as an insurance regulator, as a policy advisor. And before joining the Division, he was a senior counsel in the Massachusetts State Senate president’s office. Even better, his insurance career began with a regional carrier in the Northwest.

So, he’s got knowledge of industry. He’s got knowledge of the political side, the legislative side, and he certainly has knowledge of the regulatory side.

Two years ago, under Dean, Gary was honored with a Raymond G. Farmer Award for Exceptional Leadership by the NAIC. Dean was very prescient here.

Gary is currently the secretary of the Northeast Zone, and he serves on the F Committee, the Financial Regulation Standards and Accreditation Committee, the Financial Condition Committee, and the Audit Committee. Additionally, he has chaired the NAIC International Insurance Relations Committee since 2019. He also serves on the International Association of Insurance Supervisors Executive Committee as its vice chair and on the IAIS Policy Development Committee (PDC), which he chaired from 2020 to 2022.

And I mention all that because, want to talk about interesting times, as we fought on behalf of U.S. consumers and U.S. industry, with our international colleagues, fought to preserve the greatest system both of regulation and of industry, greatest insurance system on Earth. Gary’s been in the forefront leading that fight. Thank you there, Gary.

Gary earned his J.D. from the Albany Law School of Union University. He’s got a bachelor’s degree in history from Idaho State University.

Now, my fellow Officers and the members of the executive search committee, and I do once again want to thank those Members who spent a tremendous amount of time, they’ve invested so much effort into this.

We knew had a weighty challenge in filling the role of the CEO. There were many, far more than I would have expected, so many fine candidates in the running. And it was a tough but, in the end, a rewarding decision. In the end, Gary rose to the top. His leadership, his dedication to our state-based system of insurance regulation, and his understanding of the NAIC’s mission will serve him well as the NAIC’s new chief executive.

Now, I want to take the opportunity to do one more thing. I’m going to invoke presidential privilege here. Soon, I’m going to invite Gary up to offer a few words.

But before I do that, I have to say thank you to someone who has kept this organization together. Who has shown such tremendous, it’s such an incredible combination of selflessness and competence. Someone who’s certainly has been an inspiration to us as we’ve gone through the search. Somebody who has meant so much during his long career to the NAIC.

You’re not going to find anybody who loves this organization more than our acting CEO, COO, and chief legal officer, Andy Beal.

Andy, we are so immensely grateful for your leadership. We are so immensely grateful for your wisdom. We could not have done this, and by this, I mean everything we’ve done, without you. Thank you.

I’m not going to ask you, to make you cry, but… Instead, we’ll have Gary cry. So, please join me in welcoming to the podium the next CEO of the NAIC, Gary Anderson.

(Commissioner Anderson speaks.)

Thank you, Gary.

And with that, I officially conclude my first opening session. We are adjourned.

About the National Association of Insurance Commissioners

As part of our state-based system of insurance regulation in the United States, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) provides expertise, data, and analysis for insurance commissioners to effectively regulate the industry and protect consumers. The U.S. standard-setting organization is governed by the chief insurance regulators from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. Through the NAIC, state insurance regulators establish standards and best practices, conduct peer reviews, and coordinate regulatory oversight. NAIC staff supports these efforts and represents the collective views of state regulators domestically and internationally.