When you have been in the insurance world as long as I have, it seems each milestone triggers a memory. Of course, Austin is no different. It was the site of my first NAIC national meeting as a commissioner. It was the Spring 2011 National Meeting, and apart from a handful of friends, I walked around a relative unknown. To this day, I give new commissioners the advice to avoid wearing their black badge when they can, and to enjoy their fleeting anonymity. And not to suggest it was a simpler time for the NAIC – nothing was simple right after the financial crisis — but it was a time when we were far more focused on fighting issue fires than we were about planning for the future.
Eight years later we return to Austin. Now as CEO of the NAIC, my days of hiding in plain sight are long gone. Also gone is a lack of organizational vision. Set by our members, and fueled by the passion of dedicated leaders and NAIC staff, the course ahead is clear and progress made this year significant.
We started this year with a set of 8 key initiatives set for 2019. These projects touch on nearly every member, committee and task force. Our collective work has shown dramatic results in some of the largest challenges our sector faces. You’ll hear about the progress we’ve made at this meeting – many of you have played a role in our steps forward. There is more work to be done in the years ahead, but we’re engaged, and we understand the importance of that commitment.
We’re also heading into our third year of our State Ahead strategic plan and we continue to make dramatic shifts in the way this organization supports state insurance regulators. Of our 93 projects, we have completed 39, continue work on 36. This foundation sets the stage for the last 18. It also sets the stage for the next phase of that vision – one that will include a celebration of our 150th anniversary in 2021.
Winter is a time to look back as well as plan for what the new year will bring. I'm glad I get to do it here, with all of you. There are a lot of friends here from that first meeting and I still hope I get to enjoy at least one night of Austin’s famed music scene. 2019 was another great year that’s cause for a little celebration – Austin style.