NAIC President Lindley-Myers: Interest in Insurance Is Thriving; I’m Loving the Momentum
National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) President Chlora Lindley-Myers shared how state insurance regulators are working to protect consumers and markets in an evolving insurance industry during her NAIC Summer National Meeting Opening Remarks.
Commenting on the 2,500-plus participants at this summer’s meeting from around the world, Lindley-Myers said, “It’s apparent to me that interest in insurance is thriving. I’m loving the momentum!”
The hybrid event drew more than 1,500 participants to Seattle, Washington, with the remainder of attendees joining virtually.
Lindley-Myers recognized regulators for keeping insurance consumers top of mind. And she reminded them of how their initiatives play out in the lives of everyday people.
“A strong work ethic does not go unnoticed,” said Lindley-Myers. “As regulators, we represent different geographical regions and have diverse perspectives, but we have common goals, including planning for the best scenarios and being prepared to adjust for the worst scenario when it comes to the wellbeing of the industry’s consumers.”
Acknowledging the impacts of severe weather events throughout the U.S., including the devastating wildfires on Maui, Lindley-Myers said, “Our thoughts are with my friend and colleague, Gordon Ito, Commissioner of Hawaii, as he faces this deadly catastrophe and its aftermath.”
NAIC President Lindley-Myers full remarks are below:
2023 Summer National Meeting
President Chlora Lindley-Myers
Opening Session Remarks
August 13, 2023
Greetings, and welcome to the 2023 National Association of Insurance Commissioners Summer National Meeting.
It is great to see all of you! And thank you to those of you attending the meeting virtually.
I’m pleased to share that we have over two thousand, five-hundred registrants in total.
Nearly fifteen-hundred are here in-person, which adds to the countless people who have or will visit Seattle this summer.
In fact, according to a recent report, Seattle is this year’s number two summer travel destination in the United States.
This is based on an estimated 1.6 million flights booked between Memorial Day and Labor Day, for visits of up to a week or more.
The growing interest in experiencing the sights and sounds of Seattle is clearly thriving—and from the looks of this room full of regulators, industry partners, and guests, it is apparent to me that interest in insurance is also thriving. And I am loving the momentum.
This week marks my third trip to the Emerald City this year. Each time I visit, I fall more in love with Seattle. No matter how many times I’ve been here, I learn something new. For instance, as Commissioner Kreidler mentioned, Boeing and Starbucks were founded here in Seattle, but I did not know that the iconic Stanley Insulated Drinking Cup was designed and tested right here, too. And like the Stanley Cup in hockey, I am told that these are hard to come by! I want to thank Commissioner Kreidler for hosting us, and I look forward to the days ahead. I have known Commissioner Kreidler for many years, and if there is one thing I know about him, he is an insurance consumer champion. Thank you, Commissioner Kreidler, for all the work you do on behalf of the state of Washington and the NAIC.
We are pleased to have strong participation from our international colleagues and partners at our national meeting, representing both long-standing relationships and new ones, such as Commissioner Nakama Sana (Nah-Comma Sah-Nah) from the Federated State of Micronesia, who joins us here today.
Likewise, I want to recognize NAIC COO and Acting CEO Andy Beal. In April, Andy took on extensive duties as the Acting CEO—again. I commend his dedication and his stalwart leadership as we initiate our search to fill the NAIC CEO position. On behalf of the Officers and Members, Andy, thank you and the NAIC staff for continuing to keep things going…moving ahead and helping us meet our goals.
A strong work ethic does not go unnoticed. In a rapidly evolving industry like insurance, we see firsthand how our hard work plays out in the lives of everyday people. As insurance regulators, we have the consumer top of mind in all that we do, and that is especially true today as this complex industry continues to evolve.We are always “At Attention” because we owe it to the consumers we serve.
I want to take a moment to recognize a few regulators for their commitment to serving consumers and the industry.
First — I recently learned that Lenita Blasingame passed away on July fourth. Lenita joined the Arkansas Insurance Department in 1965. For 50 years, she supported the insurance sector by sharing her knowledge and charismatic personality with all who knew her. Lenita’s accomplishments included being the first person inducted into the Arkansas Insurance Hall of Fame. She retired seven years ago as the Chief Deputy Commissioner of the Arkansas Insurance Department. Her memory and reputation for her hard work lives on.
Many say that being around her at an insurance event was like being next to a rock star.
I know she did an excellent job preparing Russ Galbraith to step into the Deputy Commissioner role. Thank you, Russ for all that you do! Lenita will be greatly missed, and our deepest sympathies are with her family, friends, and colleagues at the Arkansas Insurance Division. Let us take a moment to recognize Lenita.
Next, Don Beatty (BAY-TEE), Deputy Commissioner of the Virginia Bureau of Insurance’s Policy, Compliance, and Administration Division, is attending his last NAIC national meeting. As Don prepares to retire, Commissioner Scott White and his team will have a huge void to fill. Don has the distinction of being a 2022 Dineen Award winner. As a member of the Virginia Bureau of Insurance, Don was part of a small group of dedicated regulators who drafted the Insurance Compact bylaws, as well as the Compact's 14 rules or operating procedures.
Among his many other roles at the Compact, Don served as chair of the Rulemaking and Regulatory Counsel Committees. At the NAIC, Don most recently chaired the Pet Insurance Working Group and the Health Maintenance Organization Issues Subgroup to the conclusion of their charges. Don, please stand.
I want to thank you for your commitment over the past 23 years to the Commonwealth of Virginia, your work with the NAIC, and your role with the Insurance Compact. We wish you well as you celebrate your retirement.
It is customary during the Summer National Meeting to do a mid-year pulse check.
Since we last met at the Spring National Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, regulators have collaborated on issues that have placed us in positions to pause, assess, and take action. In late July, I participated in a satellite media tour with TV and radio stations across the country to address questions about consumers’ challenges with insurance.
The reporters asked me about the availability and affordability of insurance, especially as some insurance companies pause writing new business in specific markets. This is a real, top-of-mind concern among both consumers and regulators today. With news reports of severe weather events like extreme heat waves, wildfires, hailstorms, tornadoes, and yes the fires on Maui, reporters asked what steps consumers can take to mitigate the risks to their properties in the face of natural disasters.
Our thoughts are with my friend and colleague, Gordon Ito, Commissioner of Hawaii, as he faces this deadly catastrophe and its aftermath.
The reporters also wanted to know how consumers could protect themselves from scams and make sure that they have the right amount of insurance.
Educating consumers on how to better engage with the insurance industry is central to our role as regulators and a key pillar of the NAIC’s State Connected strategic plan.
The satellite media tour reached more than 18 million viewers nationwide. I hope I was able to help them better understand why insurance is so important and empower them to reach out to their insurance agent or state Department of Insurance with questions. The more consumers know about insurance coverage, the better prepared they will be able to make informed choices for themselves and their families.
Since the NAIC’s founding in 1871, insurance company solvency and consumer protection have been the core of who we are and what we do. As part of our state-based system of insurance regulation in the U.S., the NAIC provides expertise, data, and analysis for insurance regulators to help them effectively regulate the industry, as well as protect consumers. Through the NAIC, state insurance regulators establish standards and best practices, conduct peer reviews, and coordinate regulatory oversight. NAIC staff support these efforts and represent the collective views of state regulators domestically and internationally.
Although state regulators represent different geographical regions and have diverse perspectives, we do have common goals. These goals include planning for the best scenario but also preparing for the worst. We collaborate often and study industry trends and best practices so we can effectively address issues that impact the industry. Our departments undergo a comprehensive, independent review every five years to ensure we meet financial solvency oversight standards. The NAIC Accreditation Program was established to develop and maintain standards to promote effective insurance company financial solvency regulation. This year Missouri, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and Texas underwent their independent reviews. And I am delighted to share that these four states have met the NAIC’s Accreditation Program requirements and will have their accreditation status continued for another five years.
Beyond the important work of our committees at the NAIC, we also partner with like-minded organizations to achieve our objectives.
This spring we signed a memorandum of understanding with the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety to provide state insurance regulators access to IBHS member-only content and additional opportunities to collaborate on select topics concerning disaster preparedness. We’ve been building on our partnership with IBHS since 2018. Having access to exclusive research, training, and resources will help us better inform policymakers, state lawmakers, and consumers on ways to fortify properties to mitigate the effects of severe weather.
We realize that climate risks are real for every jurisdiction, whether you are inland or coastal, in a colder climate or a warmer climate, more rural or more urban. State insurance regulators are seeing the economic impacts of severe weather firsthand. That is a reality.
We have been grappling with the issue of climate risk and resiliency for more than a decade.
Through the NAIC’s Climate and Resiliency Task Force and related efforts, the NAIC has been a first-mover in assessing climate risk and resiliency as it relates to insurer solvency and in pre-disaster mitigation to offset the risks from natural perils. We are encouraged by the progress we have made, along with the other focus areas we have identified as priorities for this year, including:
- Data/Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity, and Innovation
- Insurer Financial Oversight and Transparency
- Long-Term Care Insurance
- Marketing of Insurance Products and
- Race and Insurance/Protection Gaps and Financial Inclusion
We will continue to show leadership in all of our committees — yes, even in the committees where we have been hashing out issues since 2018. But yet, those who are participating feel we are rushing our work. Very few would label five years as a rush, but we will continue to reach out, and we will execute.
It is clear that our plates are full. However, I am certain we have the right committee leaders and strong NAIC staff support in place to meet our 2023 objectives. As you attend this week’s meeting sessions, I hope you agree.
Again, it is my honor to welcome you to the NAIC Summer National Meeting. On behalf of my fellow Commissioners and the NAIC staff, thank you for joining us, and we hope you have a wonderful meeting experience.
The Opening Session of the two-hundred and thirty-eighth NAIC National Meeting is now 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.