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NAIC President Dean L. Cameron's Opening Session Keynote at the 2022 Fall National Meeting
As we meet today, it is with mixed emotions that I address you. It’s hard to explain, but I am a combination of conflicting feelings:
- I am profoundly grateful and yet relieved to pass the mantle.
- I am pleased with our accomplishments and leadership but see plenty more to do.
- I guess I do see some storm clouds on our horizon, and yet I’m optimistic. Let me expound a little bit more.
Let me expound a little further.
As I attempted to express in my November President's Newsletter, my heart is full. I am grateful for this opportunity and for the privilege of being associated with all of you. I'm grateful to know you. To work with you. To lead with you. And to collaborate with you and to make advances on a host of challenging and difficult issues. I'm especially grateful to those of you who listened and have advocated for reasonable solutions. Thank you for communicating respectfully and for seeking diversity of opinion. It is through that deferential engagement that the magic of consensus is reached. I'm indebted to those who serve in leadership positions. For our officers, our chairs and our vice chairs who have unselfishly led for the betterment of our members, the NAIC and the protection of our consumers.
You will have helped more citizens than you will ever know. You all made the difference in their life and the lives of their children. I am so grateful for the true public servants of our NAIC staff, as well as our State Department of Insurance staffs. I sincerely believe that without you we could not achieve anything worthwhile. You make us seem smarter; you teach us and help us understand. You do all the legwork, paperwork, and then carry out the provisions we approve. You do not seek the limelight, but you truly deserve it.
Passing the Mantle
Serving as the president of the NAIC is not easy. For every issue you see, there is another challenge behind the scenes. The time, commitment and requests alone are difficult, if not impossible, to carry. I want to express gratitude to each of you who helped me carry that responsibility. I am honored to pass the mantle to our President-Elect, Chlora Lindley-Myers and I have the utmost confidence in her. Now, if you can't tell, she is not me. Just like I was not David. And David was not Ray. We have asked her to serve, and she has graciously accepted our invitation. And we owe her our support. That support looks like verbal accolades and praise, but it also looks like a willingness to serve where asked. It looks like honest and respectful communication. Identifying and sharing solutions, not just problems. It looks like folks willing to give of their time and their talents.
I invite all within the sound of my voice to join me in supporting Chlora!
Now, there's no way in the time allotted today to cover every accomplishment of this year. Let alone the backstory, the contributors, the leaders. But I would be remiss if I didn't touch on a few outstanding moments of leadership.
Leadership in our Communities
I'll start with the creation of the NAIC Foundation, The New Avenues in Insurance Careers Foundation, which will provide internships and scholarships to underrepresented citizens. Improving opportunities and access to careers within insurance departments as well as across the industry. I am so grateful for former NAIC Presidents Ray Farmer, George Nichols III, and Terry Vaughan for serving as our initial officers.
Leadership with Government
We have engaged multiple times with our government leaders defending our state-based system of regulation. Each time we were thoughtful and successful, that is a tribute to you and our NAIC team.
Let me just remind you of a few of those communications. You may recall the NAIC advocated for provisions of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, commonly referred to as the “No Surprises Act.” And effective January 1st of 2022, we began helping citizens regardless of whether they were consumers or not. We wrote to Congress to share our perspective on the S&P’s ratings proposal and correct any misperception of NAIC’s viewpoint. Ultimately, the S&P relented in its efforts with its model.
We wrote to Congress and asked for changes in oversight on Medicare Advantage plans. The letter kicked off a national conversation on Medicare Advantage marketing, and improvements are being advanced. We strongly advocated for state-based efforts addressing climate risk and resiliency and pushed back against any federal intervention or oversight. All 56 members adopted the Credit for Reinsurance Model. And I want to thank our legislators for helping us do that, which successfully complied with the United States. The EU and UK Covered Agreements and avoided federal preemption.
I was so proud to watch Commissioner Bering represent us before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee and advocate for state-based approaches to private equity, artificial intelligence, big data, as well as climate risk, and a host of other issues. And I was equally proud to watch Director Lindley-Myers testify before the U.S. House Financial Services Subcommittee on the NAIC’s state-based efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the insurance sector.
We advocated for the elimination of the “Family Glitch” and the U.S. Treasury Department adjusted its interpretation of the advance premium tax credit, allowing for additional citizens to qualify and obtain coverage.
Leadership with Member Services
This year, we were able to hold three outstanding Commissioners’ Conferences. Palm Desert, CA, Sun Valley, ID, and Bretton Woods, NH. Each venue was incredible, but more importantly, each meeting was incredibly, extremely productive.
After several months of hard work by the Strategic Planning Committee, the NAIC officers and leadership, approved, ahead of schedule, the new strategic plan called “State Connected." State Connected recognizes the value in connecting our members states with resources, expertise, talent, and technology. And as part of that effort, we made progress on how to connect in our New Member Connectivity Initiative, which provided a more efficient communication, organized forums, and promoting collaboration.
Leadership in our Committees
We signed memorandums of understanding with the Taiwan Insurance Institute (TII) and the Conférence Interafricaine des Marchés D’Assurances (CIMA), the regional oversight body for the insurance supervisors in Central and West Africa. And led by Commissioners Gary Anderson, David Altmaier and Andy Mais, as well as Commissioners Dunning, White, Dwyer, Caride and others, we continued to work, make progress and defend our state's system of regulation of our domestic industry. We candidly expressed our views on the International Capital Standard (ICS) and our Aggregation Method (AM) with our international (IAIS) colleagues.
That discussion hit a crescendo at a successful International Forum, which, after very clear and direct statements of our position, resulted in concessions of better understanding, increased transparency and increased stakeholder engagement.
We've made significant progress on our Long-Term Care Insurance Multi State Actuarial Review Framework. My gratitude to all who served on the Long-Term Care Insurance (EX) Taskforce, and especially Commissioner White and Commissioner Conway. But special thanks goes to Fred Anderson, Paul Lombardo and Tomasz Serbinowski, and all of the actuaries who continue to work on this critical venture which advances uniformity and information sharing while maintaining state control and local decision making.
Twenty-one of our states have adopted the Insurance Data Security Model Law, which will hopefully ward off any federal intervention, but more importantly, protect consumers.
And we successfully launched the first new committee in years. The Innovation, Cybersecurity, and Technology Committee. Thanks to all who have contributed so much energy and wisdom. As a result of that committee, we hosted our first ever Collaboration Forum. And it was an incredible experience, joined by many of you. Future forums like that one will help us better coordinate together, identify foundational regulatory issues and develop a common framework.
Leadership in Public Outreach
We are more inclusive after this year, with improvements in communication and collaboration. Not only within our NAIC family, but also with our stakeholders. We engaged in several stakeholder group meetings multiple times throughout the year. These virtual meetings were not only productive, but they helped improve understanding as well as relationships.
And we had incredible success in our satellite media tours. The first was held in May and reached an audience of more than 18 million impressions. As I was interviewed by 30 television and radio stations about Life Insurance and how state departments of insurance can assist consumers. The second satellite media tour was held in October and reached over 17 million impressions through 29 TV and radio station interviews.
We shared the importance for consumers regarding the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, surprise billing protections, Medicare open enrollment, and warned against inappropriate Medicare marketing tactics.
The future is bright. The future is bright because of you and your staff. I'm optimistic about the appropriate role of our state-based regulation. The collective wisdom of you as members keeps us on a safe course. I know without hesitation that you under Chlora, Andy and Jon's leadership will continue to protect consumers.
Throughout my year, I've tried to remind us of the “why”. Why is what we do important?
For me, the “why” was: The grandparents who became parents again to two little boys after their daughter and son-in-law were killed in a tragic car accident; The neighbor whose husband passed away from a massive heart-attack, and the company initially denying coverage, but with the assistance of the Department of Insurance, they were able to keep the family farm, send their children to college, who went on to be great contributors to society; The surgeon who became a paraplegic after crashing his snowmobile into a tree, who had bought disability and life coverage against the advice of his accountant and his attorney. Coverage which paid the bills for several years. Coverage which allowed his family to stay in their home, attend college, and survive after his death; The veteran, who reluctantly acquiesced to his wife's request and bought coverage and less than two years later summoned me to his bedside to be assured that the company would pay upon his passing; And the humble, meager, well driller, who was uninsurable, and who provided a lifetime of income to his spouse after his passing using annuities.
My friends, for me, what we do is far more than a career. It's far more than an occupation. It is providing life-changing, asset-protecting, financial freedom giving products and services.
In my mind, our objective is simple. Anything that makes it more difficult to obtain these products should be shunned.
And anything that contributes to the access and affordability of these products should be sought after, advanced and lauded. I have every confidence that we will be successful in making a difference in the lives of many when we desire to protect if we do so.
So let me say again say thank you. Thank you for your support. Thank you for your kindness. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Thank you for listening with your ears and with your heart.
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.