NAIC’s 239th Opening Session Presidential Remarks
On Friday, Dec. 1, National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) President and Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance Director Chlora Lindley-Myers welcomed 2023 Fall National Meeting attendees to the NAIC’s 239th session.
Director Lindley-Myers noted that in-person registration for the hybrid event had set a record since the COVID-19 pandemic began at 1,782, with virtual registration bringing the overall total to nearly 3,000.
With the NAIC soon set to elect its 2024 officers, Directly Lindley-Myers looked back at her four years as an NAIC officer during her keynote remarks, observing that when she became secretary-treasurer, “[t]he future looked bright on a calendar that read … January 2020" and adding, “If that was a movie, you would hear 'dun, dun, dun!'”
Director Lindley-Myers went on to praise the organization’s response to the obstacles it faced in the new decade, saying, “Through the hybrid approach that emerged from the pandemic, we can now collaborate more easily and widely than ever before.” She noted, “The story of the past few years for the NAIC is not only one of challenges but also of state insurance regulators living up to every principle we have held dear as an organization.”
In reviewing 2023, which she had started by calling for a year of C.A.L.M., Director Lindley-Myers described an organization constantly on the move in the domestic and international arena, with the state-based system of insurance regulation “[setting] the standards for bipartisanship and coordination.”
Director Lindley-Myers closed by thanking her “fellow regulators, NAIC staff, and those who have partnered with us” in 2023 “for your hard work and commitment,” adding, “Thank you for your late nights, your early mornings, your weekends, and thank you for your passion. Thank you for your heart for service and for people.”
She also issued another challenge, saying, “As we head into the new year, please allow me to say it one more time: Be curious about the amazing world around us. Keep on the lookout for opportunities to improve, to grow, and to help people. And always, always stay C.A.L.M.”
You can read Director Lindley-Myers’ full opening remarks below:
2023 Fall National Meeting
President Chlora Lindley-Myers
Opening Session Remarks
Dec. 1, 2023
During this final meeting of the year, we will elect our 2024 president, so I will be passing the torch at the end of the month.
Naturally, such a transition leads me to reflect not only on my year as president but also my entire time in NAIC leadership.
When I became the NAIC’s secretary-treasurer, we were preparing to enter a new decade, one where we would soon celebrate the NAIC’s 150th anniversary.
The future looked bright on a calendar that read … January 2020. If that was a movie, you would hear “dun, dun, dun!”
Fortunately, nothing out of the ordinary happened, right? And then the next four years were incredibly smooth, routine, and predictable.
But think about that for a moment. As state insurance regulators, we do not travel much in the world of predictability.
Sure, we unfortunately know we can count on certain things, such as health problems, natural disasters, economic downturns, and the like.
It is, of course, impossible to be totally certain exactly when those events will occur, how severe they will be, or how long they will last. The predictability of unpredictability leads us to work hard to make sure consumers are covered, prepared, and supported for whatever may come their way.
Insurance is all about the unexpected and doing your best to keep on your feet when you meet it.
So, in 2020, we plunged into a world that never seemed to want to stay right side up. Each day brought new problems to solve and changing fears to face. As NAIC officers, we had to decide how the organization could best pursue its mission while navigating a different way of life.
One of my top professional and personal goals has been to never, ever stop learning. To always be curious and to seek improvement. Here was a prime opportunity for us all of us and me to grow.
And that’s exactly what we did. Through the hybrid approach that emerged from the pandemic, we can now collaborate more easily and widely than ever before.
The story of the past few years for the NAIC is not only one of challenges but also of state insurance regulators living up to every principle we have held dear as an organization.
You do not have to look very far in society to find division. Being divisive is easy. We naturally want to keep to ourselves and our own interests. Working together can be hard.
It can mean long days and nights. It can require discussing the same topics over and over and over and over again until you find a way to move forward. It is challenging and often exhausting. But it is also incredibly rewarding, satisfying, and effective.
I am extremely lucky to work with people who have become more than colleagues — people I can call friends.
I believe in our state-based system of insurance regulation. It sets the standards for bipartisanship and coordination. And, to me, the results speak for themselves.
I started my term as president by calling for a year of C.A.L.M. You’ve heard me talk about it before, so I won’t lay out the acronym again at this point, but it encompasses so much of what I believe state insurance regulators can be and do.
And in the end, it all comes together when doing our jobs well provides us with some calm even during chaos.
As I look back at 2023, I see an organization upholding its mission and preparing for the future by staying constantly in motion.
In addition to three national meetings in Louisville, Kentucky; Seattle, Washington, and now Orlando, our annual International Insurance Forum in Washington, D.C. gathered over 200 attendees for discussions and sessions on topics which included closing the insurance gap, insurer investing, cybersecurity and technology, and infrastructure.
In June, we hosted approximately 340 participants from around the world at the 2023 IAIS Global Seminar, where NAIC Members brought their insight and experience to a packed agenda of speeches and panel discussions focused on the challenges and opportunities facing insurance supervisors, consumers, and the industry.
At that conference, Commissioner Lara and Director Severinghaus brought their A-Game to their responsibilities as masters of ceremony.
Our international collaboration did not stop there. We engaged on issues at numerous other events throughout the year, including holding 24 bilateral meetings with our international counterparts.
We have also been deeply invested in the continuing discussion over the Aggregation Method and the Insurance Capital Standard. And we have our Massachusetts commissioner to thank for that. He has been a stalwart in that. As we believe the IAIS’ final assessment criteria provides a viable and fair pathway, we look forward to the final decision in 2024 that establishes the AM as an outcome-equivalent approach for ICS implementation.
During our 2023 International Fellows program, over 50 foreign regulators participated virtually in the spring session to learn about our state-based insurance system and how we protect consumers and marketplaces. For the five-week, in-person fall session, seven insurance departments hosted eight regulators from Brazil, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, and Thailand.
On the domestic front, we’ve released 15 Consumer Insights to date in 2023, breaking down complex issues to empower consumers on issues including life insurance, preparing for natural disasters, the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency, policy riders, Medicare open enrollment, cybersecurity, and much, much more.
Our strategy is intact. We are pleased to report significant progress on our State Connected strategic plan, where we have identified a total of 31 initiatives aligned with our core vision and objectives. Currently, we are actively advancing on 24 of those initiatives.
This year, we achieved several noteworthy milestones, including a new Member portal for regulators. The portal is a centralized hub for effective communication and collaboration between Members and regulators.
In addition, much work has been completed on the new System for Electronic Rate and Form Filing, or SERFF, platform. Next year, the modernized SERFF will be launched with Insurance Compact filings.
Furthermore, we have streamlined the licensing process for insurance companies, and we look forward to many additional enhancements and capabilities in 2024.
We held two satellite media tours in 2023, reaching 33.6 million across the nation about topics such as the importance of carrying proper insurance coverage, especially in advance of natural disasters, watching out for insurance scams, and how their state insurance departments can help consumers.
Even though the tours were a few months apart, I think I’m still recovering from conducting 48 media interviews over a two-day combined period.
And with Illinois, Maine, Wisconsin, and Wyoming receiving their five-year accreditation this meeting, 2023 has seen 11 states reaccredited through the NAIC program, which maintains standards to promote effective insurance company financial solvency regulation.
We also made the voices of state insurance regulators heard on Capitol Hill.
April offered state insurance commissioners the opportunity to meet with their federal legislators through our Commissioner D.C. Fly-In. Across a day and a half of meetings, regulators discussed efforts to assist constituents and advocated for state and NAIC priorities.
These included the long-term reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program, opposing federal preemption of state data privacy and cybersecurity safeguards, strengthening health insurance markets, and returning oversight of Medicare Advantage marketing to the states.
Just some of the other issues we weighed in on nationally include the FIO data call, the Department of Labor’s proposed fiduciary rule proposal, mental health parity, the SAFER Banking Act, and challenges facing the property insurance market.
Earlier in November, Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Grace Arnold testified on behalf of the NAIC Members before the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services subcommittee, where she observed how state insurance regulators “have the capacity to respond swiftly and nimbly to market conditions” in each of their markets.
Over 500 NAIC staff members, along with state insurance commissioners and other guests, gathered in Kansas City, Missouri (woo-hoo!), in June for the NAIC Third Annual DE&I Conference, which focused on “Awareness in Action.” The conference was preceded by an additional day of learning and training for NAIC staff.
In August, Guam became the 35th NAIC Member to implement State Based Systems, which enables U.S. state and territory insurance departments to more efficiently and effectively process license applications, renewals, inquiries, complaints, and enforcement actions.
We also announced plans to issue our own nationwide data call to help state insurance regulators better understand their property markets, coverages, and protection gaps in light of increasing climate risk, reinsurance costs, and inflationary pressures.
Building on our partnership with the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, we entered into a memorandum of understanding that provides state insurance regulators additional opportunities to collaborate on select topics concerning disaster preparedness and access to IBHS’ member-only content.
Throughout the year, state insurance commissioners have so far accepted 43 speaking requests on behalf of the NAIC that allowed us to discuss, coordinate, and inform on key issues across the nation.
This is, of course, far from an exhaustive list, and other vital work progresses on a variety of fronts.
While we remain constantly in motion, we also acknowledge that good work and consensus-building take time. That is a strength of our system, not a detriment. Careful thought, teamwork, and a process that encourages feedback result in better products and oversight, as well as greater effectiveness over the long term.
To my fellow regulators, NAIC staff, and those who have partnered with us this year, thank you for your hard work and commitment. Thank you for your late nights, your early mornings, your weekends, and thank you for your passion. Thank you for your heart for service and for people.
But we are not done yet! I am confident we will successfully tackle our remaining tasks and finish laying a solid foundation for 2024.
As we head into the new year, please allow me to say it one more time: Be curious about the amazing world around us. Keep on the lookout for opportunities to improve, to grow, and to help people. And always, always stay C.A.L.M.
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.