Farmer's Files - August President's Newsletter

Hello, and thank you for reading this month's edition of Farmer's Files. I think we can all agree the world was in a very different place just six months ago. And yet through these unprecedented times, the NAIC continues to prove its adaptability and resiliency with updated priorities and workloads.

2020 Virtual Summer National Meeting   

Our virtual Summer National Meeting was a great success. We had a record setting 2,943 registered attendees for the Summer National Meeting. Thank you to all who attended and to those who worked hard behind the scenes over the three-week schedule to make our first virtual national meeting possible.

In the Opening Session, I provided an overview of NAIC's key priorities, which were amplified in the meeting’s three special sessions: COVID-19: Lessons Learned; CIPR: Hurricane & Resiliency; and Race & Insurance.

Artificial Intelligence Guiding Principles

During the Summer National Meeting, our members unanimously adopted guiding principles on artificial intelligence (AI), emphasizing the importance of accountability, compliance, and transparency while providing safe, secure and robust outputs. This adoption was an important step given the increased utilization of AI tools in the industry. The principles are based on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) AI principles, which have been adopted by 42 countries, including the United States. You can read more about them here. 

Climate and Resiliency (EX) Task Force

The new Climate and Resiliency (EX) Task Force that was established at our Mid-Year Meeting in July is beginning to take shape. The Task Force has 24 members signed up so far and I am proud to say that I will serve as co-chair alongside California Insurance Commissioner, Ricardo Lara.

The Regulators Podcast

The latest episode of “The Regulators” podcast is a special edition. The season 2 episode 7 podcast discusses racial equality in how insurance products are delivered and sold, and racial diversity within the insurance industry. Connecticut Commissioner, Andrew Mais, is the guest host and he is joined by: California Insurance Commissioner, Ricardo Lara; New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner, Marlene Caride; Aflac Chief Executive Officer, Dan Amos; and Consumer Advocate and Chair of the Connecticut Insurance Department Subcommittee on Big Data, Sonja Larkin-Thorne.   

I urge all of you to listen and subscribe to the podcast. You can listen to “The Regulators” here. 

Virtual Insurance Summit

This year's Insurance Summit will take place virtually over a two-week period, September 8 – 10 and Sept. 15 – 17. The Summit will feature 70 different sessions including exciting keynote speakers, an NAIC Officer Panel, Innovation and Technology State Contacts Roundtable, and a new Risk and Resiliency track.

I hope that you will encourage your staff to participate in this program, and there is no registration fee for state insurance regulators. You can register here.  

The new schedule is designed to allow flexibility for attendees. You can select the days and sessions you would like to attend, based on what fits into your busy schedule. A feature I'm excited about is the "on demand" option, which will allow attendees to view recordings at later times. The schedule also includes later start times and earlier end times so we can accommodate attendees from different time zones.

Life Insurance Awareness Month

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month. The NAIC has created releases and consumer insights to help engage consumers. There’s also a life insurance toolkit, which provides information about how to purchase life insurance and tips to help prepare beneficiaries for their role; and highlights the impact of the Life Insurance Policy Locator. Resources for this campaign can be found on the NAIC’s PIO resource page. 

Healthcare and the Pandemic

The impact of the pandemic on healthcare and insurance is significant. According to a recent NAIC study, 56% of respondents say they delayed medical appointments or surgery due to the pandemic. And for consumers who do get sick, 47% don’t understand how their health insurance pays for coronavirus testing and treatment. Phase 2 of the NAIC’s integrated consumer education campaign on health insurance plan coverage will focus on helping consumers understand how to use their health insurance plans. 

As always, if there is an area of insurance you would like to help consumers better understand, please email Communications Director Laura Kane at lkane1@naic.org with your suggestions.

NIPR   

Since the beginning of this year, NIPR has welcomed seven new members to its Board of Directors. The new members are made up of a mix of regulators and industry professionals who bring important industry, legislative and regulatory insurance experience to the NIPR Board.

The new members are:

  1. Commissioner Mark Afable (WI)
  2. Commissioner Vicki Schmidt (KS)
  3. Director Bruce Ramge (NE)
  4. Ms. Julie Harrison (National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, NAIFA)
  5. Mr. Anthony Maddox (America’s Health Insurance Plans, AHIP)
  6. Mr. Joseph Torti III (American Property Casualty Insurance Association, APCIA)
  7. Ms. Kate Jensen (The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers, CIAB)

Each one brings great value to NIPR’s mission of providing cost‐effective, streamlined, and uniform licensing data and compliance services for insurance professionals.

Thank you, again, for making time to read this edition of Farmer's Files. Stay well everyone!

 

 

Farmer's Files - July 2020 President's Newsletter

We are facing uncertainty on many fronts as we enter this summer season. As the pandemic continues, and as many states including my own are experiencing spikes in the number of COVID-19 cases, I hope you're all safe and well. We do not know how long this pandemic will last, but I suspect it will continue to present many challenges in the months ahead.

Turning to an equally important topic, there is no doubt our society is at a pivotal moment when it comes to race and diversity. As regulators, we have the power to make a difference. As we discussed on our June 25th Member call, it’s time for us to step up. We need to put in the hard work to help make a difference for the consumers of our states and our country. We’ll have more opportunities to discuss the topic of Diversity and Insurance, and a way forward, at both our July meeting and our virtual Summer National Meeting in August. I thank you for your comments during our June call and urge you to be prepared to step forward and engage in constructive dialogue with each other, and with our many stakeholders, to help address the challenging issues in this area as we continue this critical effort.

Below is some more information about the NAIC’s efforts on these and other pressing topics.

NAIC Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives
This month, NAIC senior management launched a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Council for employees. The Council is an important step in the NAIC’s journey toward a fully engaged, diverse and inclusive workspace. The Council’s members will work closely with senior management to develop DE&I strategic priorities for the organization.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council

 

NAIC Virtual Summer National Meeting
Registration for the Virtual Summer National Meeting is open (register online here). The meetings will begin the week of July 27 and end the week of August 10. The complete agenda will be available on the NAIC meetings website this week. 

Our Summer National Meeting will include three special programs:

  • Race & Insurance: During this session, there will be three panels covering such topics as: Historical Context of Racial Discrimination within the Insurance Sector; Current Racially-Based Challenges within the Insurance Sector; and Increasing Diversity and Inclusion within the Insurance Sector.
  • COVID-19 Lessons Learned: This session will consist of three panel discussions: Insurance Regulator Perspectives, Impact on the Marketplace, and The Road Ahead. The discussions will offer a snapshot of how COVID-19 has impacted the insurance sector and provide a view of what lies ahead.
  • Hurricane Preparedness: The Center for Insurance Policy Research (CIPR) will host a special session that will focus on the science of hurricanes and how it translates into operational effectiveness and hurricane resilience. FEMA will share how its 2020 disaster response may be different than in previous years.  Other speakers include Ken Graham, Director of the National Hurricane Center, and Leslie Chapman-Henderson, CEO of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes.

NAIC Virtual Summer National Meeting

 

COVID-19 Report and Business Interruption Data Call
We released A Report on the State Insurance Regulatory Response to COVID-19. This report chronicles state insurance regulators’ actions from January 1, 2020 to May 31, 2020 and how those actions helped mitigate the pandemic's impact on insurance consumers. The NAIC also released findings from the Business Interruption Data Call.  The findings show that 83% of business policies had a pandemic exclusion and 98% had a physical loss requirement.

COVID-19 Report

 

#ReduceYourRisk Twitter Chat
The Communications team led a successful #ReduceYourRisk Twitter chat in June to help educate consumers on risk mitigation and the value of flood insurance.  You can search the hashtags #NAICInsuranceChat and #ReduceYourRisk to view the chat.  As part of our #ReduceYourRisk campaign, the NAIC also released an interactive graphic. It is one of many resources available to you and your staff.

Consumer Insights
As part of our ongoing efforts to educate consumers, we released two new consumer insights your departments can share.

Small Business Insight

If there is a topic you would like to see covered in a Consumer Insight, email Laura Kane at LKane1@naic.org with your request.

- Ray Farmer

 

Summer National Meeting
Virtual Format

Week of July 27 - Week of August 10

Insurance Summit 
Virtual Format 
September 14-18, 2020  
More Information to Come

Farmer's Files - May 2020 President's Newsletter

Greetings from the great state of South Carolina! I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe.

As states and cities begin to reopen, COVID-19 continues to impact the insurance industry. We have a number of efforts underway, some of which are detailed below. Additionally, with the hurricane season just around the corner, many of us are focusing on educating our citizens about the importance of taking steps now to be prepared and to mitigate their risks.

COVID-19 Business Interruption Data Call

The COVID-19 business interruption data call has gone out. The due date for companies to submit the first set of data, which covers business interruption premium exposure, is June 1. The second set of data, which deals with business interruption claims and losses, is due June 15.

New Consumer Insights Related to COVID-19

The NAIC Communications Division created several new Consumer Insights in the last month, with some of them covering COVID-19 related topics. For example, one of the new insights is about navigating comprehensive health coverage during the pandemic. We also released an insight on special event coverage. I encourage you to share these insights, as well as others on the NAIC website, with your consumers.

Reduce Your Risk Campaign

Thanks to the wonders of technology, I participated in a satellite media tour that involved doing interviews with 28 radio and television news outlets in one day. I had the opportunity to educate millions of consumers throughout the United States on disaster preparedness and how insurance can help them become more resilient.

Forecasters are predicting an above-average hurricane season this year and it's crucial we help consumers mitigate their risks. The Weather Channel is working on a special program focusing on hurricanes to inform consumers about how they can recover faster after a disaster. I’m pleased to be a part of this program. If you’re interested, you can view a compilation of my interviews here.

#ReduceYourRisk Twitter Chat

We will host a #ReduceYourRisk Twitter chat Wednesday, June 24 at 2 p.m. EDT. We hope your department will join us, IBHS, APCIA, NICB and FEMA in this effort to educate consumers about how they can mitigate their risks. The NAIC will lead the conversation and respond to questions from Twitter users in real-time. This is a great opportunity for the public to ask questions, gain insights, and learn the best practices before, during, and after a natural disaster.

The Twitter chat will use the hashtags #NAICinsuranceChat and #ReduceYourRisk. I encourage all of you to participate if you can.

International Activities

While COVID-19 has resulted in the cancelation of many events and programs, we are staying actively engaged on the international front.  We are participating in conference calls in the following discussions:

  • IAIS conference calls where members are discussing supervisory responses to the impact of COVID-19.
  • Bilateral conference calls with other jurisdictions, such as Bermuda, Japan, and the EU, centered on developments related to the impact of COVID-19 on regulators and insurance markets.
  • Conference calls for other international organizations such as the Sustainable Insurance Forum, which the NAIC recently joined.

Member Activities and News

As part of our ongoing efforts to keep you all informed, as well as provide opportunities to discuss important regulatory issues, we continue to hold member calls every three to four weeks. Our last call was held May 14th, where we discussed a number of important topics, including the status of NAIC meetings in July and August; the status of the COVID-19 business interruption data call; a health insurance update; plans for State Ahead 2.0; and the status of transition (returning to the office) planning by state insurance departments and the NAIC. The next member call is scheduled for Thursday, June 4 at 3:00 p.m. EDT, so please mark your calendars and make plans to join us.

Last, but certainly not least, please help me welcome Kathleen A. Birrane as Insurance Commissioner of the Maryland Insurance Administration. Her appointment became effective on May 18. Congratulations Kathleen and welcome to the NAIC!

That’s all for now. Stay safe and we’ll talk again soon.

 

 

 

 

Farmer's Files - April 2020 President's Newsletter

Time waits for no one, and neither does the weather. While we’ve worked diligently responding to the COVID-19 pandemic over the last month and a half, severe weather has started rearing its head. Many states, including my home state of South Carolina, experienced devastating tornadoes in April. Over Easter weekend, tornadoes in the Palmetto State killed nine people, making it the second-deadliest tornado outbreak in the state’s history.

With an above-average storm season predicted, consumer education on reducing risks and recovering from the effects of tornadoes, storms and other natural disasters remains as critical as ever.

I look forward to continuing our discussions during the April 30th Member Call. Before this meeting, I want to take a moment to make you aware of some of our current projects.

#ReduceYourRisk

In order to encourage consumers to prepare for the Atlantic storm season and consider purchasing flood insurance, the NAIC communications department expanded their #YourRiskisReal campaign to include information about preparation and mitigation. The new public relations campaign is called #ReduceYourRisk. The campaign includes media outreach, social media posts, consumer insights and infographics which are available to your department through the NAIC’s PIO Resource Center.

Data Calls

A regulator drafting group finalized a data call to be issued soon to collect premium, policy and exclusion information, as well as loss and claims data, from insurers related to business interruption policies. Regulators continue to work on subsequent data calls related to other property and casualty lines of business, such as general liability, event cancelation, travel insurance, workers’ compensation, and medical professional liability.

Coronavirus Resource Center

We added a searchable database of state actions to the NAIC’s Coronavirus Resource Center as well as additional Consumer Insights. The database has more than 1,000 different state actions and notices. The database is updated twice a week. Please send any new information about your state’s action to covid19tracking@naic.org. The communications team continues to create consumer education pieces on the impact of COVID-19. If you would like to have specific insights created, please contact Laura Kane, lkane1@naic.org.

Business Interruption Statement

In late March, the NAIC released a statement on business interruption insurance cautioning Congress and the Administration against retroactively re-writing policies to include new business interruption coverages. Click here to read the entire statement. We continue to engage with Congress as it considers various proposals regarding business interruption insurance coverage and other legislative responses.

Statutory Accounting Principles (E) Working Group Changes

The NAIC’s Statutory Accounting Principles (E) Working Group adopted three interpretations related to COVID-19 earlier this month. The statutory accounting exceptions allow insurance reporting entities to respond to policyholder needs for premium payment delays, and address mortgage loan modification or forbearance requests while mitigating insurance reporting entity concerns on the impact to statutory financial statements.

2019 NAIC Annual Report

We released our 2019 Annual Report. At the time of the 2019 Annual Report’s creation, the threat of COVID-19 had just emerged. As a result, the report does not discuss the risks of the pandemic. I encourage you to read the report, as it highlights many of the important activities of the association and includes the organization’s 2019 financial statements. You can view the report here. 

The Regulators Podcast

In this month's episode of The Regulators podcast, Mike Consedine and I discuss the challenges facing state insurance departments and the insurance sector as we adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic. I highly encourage you to subscribe, rate, and listen to the podcast.

LISTEN ON: SPREAKER | SPOTIFY | APPLE

The Regulators Podcast

Insurance Compact News

The Insurance Compact created a COVID-19 FAQ to assist Compact filers. The FAQ also serves as a resource for regulators to reference the Uniform Standards framework, in terms of best practices, when reviewing state-filed applications with COVID-19 related questions.

In addition to its COVID-19 efforts, the Insurance Compact released its 2019 Annual Report in early April, ending the year with its largest positive net revenue ever. The report also shows that the Insurance Compact collected and remitted about $3.5 million in states filing fees to the Compacting States.

NIPR News

NIPR

NIPR staff, like most of us, are working remotely at full capacity. To support state COVID-19 response efforts, NIPR established a communication hub to share information about state orders and bulletins issued by state departments concerning licensing.

To encourage early renewals, NIPR launched a Renew Early social media and email campaign targeting the producer community. 

I look forward to talking with you on our April 30th Member Call.

Farmer's Files - March 2020 President's Newsletter

It’s amazing how many things can change in a month. We are living in a different world than when I wrote the last newsletter just 30 days ago. Emergency declarations, tele-working, self-quarantine and social distancing comprise our new normal. As the COVID-19 pandemic poses unprecedented challenges to the health and safety of people all over the world and specifically the operation of the nation’s insurance sector, we all are focused on what we can do to help.

It goes without saying that COVID-19 has become NAIC’s new top priority for now. So, I want to take a moment to go over some of the things we’ve done, as well as projects that are in the works. 

Virtual Special Session

I hope you were able to attend the virtual Special Session on COVID-19 on March 20th. The public session was informative and the regulator-only session enabled us to have a robust discussion about the stability of the insurance sector, possible issues that may need our attention in the near-term, and what we’re doing at the state level. I encourage you to watch the open session available on the Coronavirus Resource Center and the regulator-to-regulator session available to watch through StateNet. 

I imagine this will be just one of many virtual conversations that will take place over the next few months as we look for innovative ways to meet and continue our work while maintaining social distancing.

State Bulletins Around the Coronavirus

The NAIC is working on developing two central repositories for state bulletins, orders and other directives. The regulator only access repository is currently available at https://collab.naic.org. Once you log in, you can access the repository by clicking on the ‘COVID 19’ button that pops up on the bottom right of the Terms and Conditions page.

Additionally, the NAIC Coronavirus Resource Center is currently being re-tooled to provide a list of state actions by topic and by state. This updated public version will be available on the NAIC home page soon.

Coronavirus CARES Act

The U.S. Congress passed and President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Of note, the legislation covers the following regarding health insurance:

  1. For COVID-19 testing it requires group health plans and insurers to pay either: a) the negotiated price if they have an agreement with the provider, or b) the “listed price” (must be posted) for providers with which they do not have an agreement (Sec. 3202)
  2. Requires group health plans and insurers to cover the COVID-19 vaccine once available (Sec. 3203)
  3. Provides telehealth resources and network grants (Sec. 3212)
  4. Provides rural health grants (Sec. 3213)
  5. Requires the Secretary of HHS to develop standards for HIPAA privacy (Sec. 3224)
  6. Allows first-dollar coverage of telehealth for high-deductible plans eligible for an HSA (Sec. 3701)
  7. Makes statutory changes to the Medicare program to allow more flexibility for telehealth (Sec. 3702)
  8. Funds Community Health Centers (Sec. 3821) – this is important because funding of the centers was going to be the train used to pass Surprise bill and Rx legislation by end of May

NAIC’s Statement on Business Interruption Insurance

The NAIC released a statement last week cautioning against and opposing federal proposals that would retroactively require insurance companies to pay for unfunded coronavirus business interruption claims. It also expressed the NAIC’s commitment to working with Congress to find ways to mitigate the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. To read the full statement, click here

Reprioritizing NAIC Workstreams

You probably noticed the NAIC Officers directed the NAIC to suspend conference calls for the groups scheduled to meet at our virtual Spring National Meeting. We did not make this decision lightly, but given what was happening at the state level in so many of our states, it was pretty obvious we needed to make our first priority the health and safety of our staffs and the citizens in our respective jurisdictions. Along these lines, our focus for the next four to six weeks will be on addressing COVID-19-related issues, as well as other essential activities that need to occur. We plan to share more information with you in the next week or so, so please stay tuned.

TBD

Farmer's Files - February 2020

Welcome back!

It was great to see most of you at the Commissioners’ Conference. 

We’ve had a productive February at the NAIC and I’m proud of what we've accomplished in a short of amount of time. Thank you for your engagement and hard work. Here are some of the highlights for this month, as well as some information about upcoming events.

Commissioners’ Conference

Commissioners' Conference 2020

This year’s Commissioners’ Conference took place February 13-15 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. You can view photos from the event in our online album. 

We had a really good turnout of members and senior regulator staff. We discussed and reached consensus on our strategic regulatory priorities for 2020. We also held breakout sessions to hold our initial discussions covering the next iteration of State Ahead, and the priority work streams for our standing committees. You all should have received an email from the NAIC with the notes from these breakout sessions. If you have not already done so, I encourage you to take a few minutes to review these notes. There is a lot of work to be done and I am confident we are up to the task.

Finally, one of the key action items at the Conference was the adoption of the Suitability in Annuity Transactions Model Regulation (#275). The model, when adopted in our states, will give us an additional tool to better protect consumers because the revisions clarify that agents and carriers may not place their financial interest ahead of the consumer’s interest. The model now requires agents and carriers act with “reasonable diligence, care and skill” in making recommendations.

IAIS Committee Meetings

NAIC members and staff continue to take leadership on key issues facing the international insurance community. IAIS parent committees met in Basel, Switzerland February 24-26. Topics discussed included: the monitoring period for the insurance capital standard; the aggregation method and comparability; and implementation of the holistic framework for systemic risk. In addition, the committees approved the 2019 Global Insurance Market Report for publication. They also issued papers about the use of big data analytics in insurance and papers about implementation of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.

The Regulators Podcast

The Regulators Podcast

Now available on Apple Podcasts, The Regulators continues to build its audience. If you have not yet listened to the podcast, you can also tune in on Spotify and Spreaker.

In this month’s episode, NAIC Secretary-Treasurer and Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance Director, Chlora Lindley-Myers, and NAIC CEO, Mike Consedine, discussed diversity and inclusion in insurance. It’s a great topic and I encourage you all to listen. 

Spring National Meeting

Spring National Meeting

We’re getting closer to the Spring National Meeting and I look forward to seeing you all there. The tentative agenda for the meeting, which takes place in Phoenix from March 21-24, is available on the NAIC Meetings & Events page.

I’m especially looking forward to CIPR’s Spring 2020 Program: Roadmap of Current and Emerging Initiatives in International Insurance Supervision. With a panel discussion featuring regulators and industry figures, it’s sure to be an interesting as well as educational discussion.

International Forum

NAIC International Insurance Forum

By now, you should have all received an invitation to the NAIC’s 14th annual International Insurance Forum, May 4-5 in Washington, DC.  This year’s keynote speaker is Vice Chairman Randal Quarles of the Federal Reserve Board. This event provides an opportunity for regulators, industry representatives and other experts to come together and address issues facing the international regulatory community.

The deadline to register is April 6. 

Other News

Our affiliate organization, the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) just unveiled its new website. The website was redesigned to support NIPR’s strategic goal of providing exceptional experience to customers through an intensive focus on quality, simplicity, and consistency. 

NAIC 2020 Spring National Meeting
March 21-24 
Phoenix, AZ 

NAIC International Insurance Forum 
May 4-5 
Washington, DC 

NAIC 2020 All Commissioner Fly-In 
June 10-12 
Washington, DC 

Farmer's Files

Happy New Year and welcome to the first edition of Farmer's Files.

We had a great meeting early in January for committee assignments. With so many talented and dedicated individuals, I know we are going to continue to make great progress on the NAIC's priorities.

The Regulators Podcast

Just in time for my debut on The Regulators, our podcast is now available on Apple Podcast. I encourage all of you to take a listen and give us a rating. In addition to talking insurance issues, it's a great way to learn some of the personal stories. If you would like to be a guest on the podcast, or have issues you'd like to see spotlighted, please send your ideas to news@naic.org.

Commissioners' Conference

I hope everyone has made their travel plans for the Commissioners' Conference, February 13-15. On Thursday, February 13 at 2:30 p.m. ET we will have a Joint Executive and Plenary meeting to consider adoption of the Suitability in Annuity Transactions Model Regulation (#275). If you are not attending the conference, be sure to dial in as we bring this important project to a close.

International Forum

In just a few days you will receive registration information for the NAIC's annual International Insurance Forum. As in year's past, we have a great lineup of regulators, industry representatives, and other experts coming together to tackle tough issues facing the international regulatory community. This year we are looking forward to welcoming Vice Chairman Randal Quarles of the Federal Reserve Board as our keynote speaker. I hope you will be able to join us on May 4-5 in Washington, DC.

Commissioners' Conference
Feb. 13-15
Lake Buena Vista, FL

NAIC 2020 Spring National Meeting
March 21-24
Phoenix, AZ

NAIC International Insurance Forum
May 4-5
Washington, DC

NAIC 2020 All Commissioner Fly-In
June 10-12
Washington, DC

The Maine Course - December

The holidays for many of us meant wrapping up year-end business, while also trying to spend time with loved ones. Before 2019 comes to an end, I'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you for what's been a very productive and accomplished year for the NAIC!

Fall National Meeting

FNM attendance numbers

This year's Fall National Meeting in Austin, TX was a success!  With nearly 100 official meetings in five days, we continue to make progress on a number of our priorities. The NAIC leadership and staff are committed to achieving real, meaningful progress on key initiatives we set at the beginning of the year.

During the meeting:

  • We approved the 2020 budget. It's based on $114.5 million in operating revenues and operating expenses of $124.5 million.
  • Bermuda, Japan and Switzerland were approved as Reciprocal Jurisdictions for purposes of the revised Credit for Reinsurance Model Law and Regulation, and the NAIC took additional steps to implement the reinsurance collateral provisions of the US-EU/UK Covered Agreements.
  • The NAIC Executive Committee approved a Request for Model Law Development related to the Group Capital Calculation. The Executive Committee also adopted a MLR for rebating from the Innovation and Technology Task Force.
  • The NAIC's 3-year strategic plan, State Ahead, is in its second year and we've shown tremendous progress on implementing many of the projects that were originally identified. To date, there are 93 projects overall, 39 completed projects while work on 37 projects is ongoing. Seventeen more projects are scheduled to begin in 2020.
  • The Life Insurance and Annuities (A) Committee reviewed comments received on the Nov. 5 draft revisions to the Suitability in Annuity Transactions Model Regulation (#275). As of Dec. 30, the Committee passed the annuity sales standard on to the NAIC Executive Committee and Plenary. The Plenary could take the final vote on the annuity rule changes early in 2020. 
  • The Health Insurance and Managed Care (B) Committee heard an update from the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) on its recent regulatory activities.
  • A decision was made to create a new Mental Health Parity Working Group to assist states in implementation of the Federal mental health parity law and enhance discussions with Federal agencies. 
  • The Property and Casualty (C) Committee adopted a new white paper on cannabis and a claims guide that provides information on steps to take following a disaster. 
  • The Market Regulation and Consumer Affairs (D) Committee adopted a Workers’ Compensation Standardized Data Request, which will be incorporated into the NAIC Market Regulation Handbook for the states to voluntarily use to determine if a company follows appropriate procedures with respect to the issuance and/or termination of worker compensation policies.
  • The Financial Regulation Standards and Accreditation (F) Committee voted to award continued accreditation to state insurance departments of Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York. The committee also voted to accredit the U.S. Virgin Islands for the first time
  • The International Insurance Relations (G) Committee adopted the report of the ComFrame Development and Analysis (G) Working Group, which met prior to the Committee to discuss next steps for implementation of the Common Framework for the Supervision of Internationally Active Insurance Groups (ComFrame) and the IAIS monitoring period for its Insurance Capital Standard (ICS) and to hear an update on the aggregation method process underway at the IAIS.

NAIC Comments on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Decision on Affordable Care Act

After the Fall National Meeting, the U.S. Courts and Congress were busy wrapping up their session and business.  

On December 18, in Texas v. U.S., the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in a 2-1 ruling and remanded the case for further consideration on the severability issue. 

With this decision, the litigation around the Affordable Care Act continues. The NAIC and our members remain committed to protecting consumers. Policyholders can be assured that current plans and those purchased for 2020 are and will be in force through the remainder of the plan year.

NAIC Applauds Congress on End-of-Year Spending Package  

Pic of the Capitol

Congress has taken action on passing some of our priorities in its year-end spending package. Due in part to our advocacy, the U.S. state-based system of regulation remains secure. Click here to review some of the NAIC priorities that were approved in the spending bill.  

A Heartfelt Thanks 

Cioppa thank you

This year we faced several challenges and tough issues and I wouldn't have been able to handle them all without the guidance and support from our members and the NAIC and Maine Insurance Department staffs.  Together we have tackled critical domestic and international priorities and made continued progress on our strategic plan, State Ahead, positioning ourselves to meet the needs of insurance markets of the future.

I am extremely grateful for all that you've done to make 2019 a successful year for me and the NAIC!

 

The Maine Course - October

As the days get shorter and the nights get cooler, it’s clear that fall is officially here. Children are back in school, and all of us are diligently working to complete the many tasks before the end of the year. I am pleased to share some of these with you.

Testimony Before Congress

 Cioppa testifies

On Sept. 12, I testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs alongside Steven Seitz, director of the Federal Insurance Office, and Thomas Sullivan, associate director of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. My testimony focused on the two areas that have received the most attention here and abroad: 1) the development of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors' (IAIS) insurance capital standard (ICS); and 2) the development of the holistic framework for systemic risk in the insurance sector.

My testimony cautioned that presently the U.S. delegation views the draft ICS as inherently problematic and the NAIC is pursuing an aggregation method as an alternative that is not only comparable but also superior to the ICS in several respects. I stressed that it is critically important that international regulatory standards be developed in a manner that are adaptable to our markets and do not threaten their stability. And, I reiterated that the NAIC remains committed to continued engagement in international insurance standard-setting discussions alongside our Team USA colleagues to help ensure this result.

Life Insurance Awareness Month

September was Life Insurance Awareness Month. The NAIC communications staff worked with consumer advocates and the Life Insurance Online Guide (A) Working Group to create a toolkit for all the state insurance departments to use. It included three press releases, one consumer alert, one consumer insight, an updated Life Insurance Buyer's Guide, weekly social media posts and a Twitter chat. Thanks to all who participated in this year’s effort.

Focus on Flood

The #YourRiskIsReal campaign continued its efforts to educate consumers about the importance of flood insurance with a satellite media tour and survey.

The media tour included interviews with 29 radio and television stations across the country. Each interview stressed the importance of making sure that consumers are properly covered for disasters, that flood insurance improves resiliency and that state insurance departments serve as valuable resources to consumers on all insurance matters.

Flood survey graphic

 

The NAIC-commissioned survey found that there is a gap in Americans' understanding of the role flood insurance plays in disaster resilience. Following are the survey highlights:

Roughly half of Americans (51%) don't know that homeowners insurance doesn't cover damage/loss caused by a flood event. About a third (31%) incorrectly think it's covered and about 1 in 5 (21%) are not sure.

Nearly 4 in 5 Americans (79%) don't know that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant amounts are not based on the value of the recipient's home.

More than half of Americans (53%) say they or someone they know have been a victim of a flood event.

Less than a quarter of Americans overall (23%), and just 29% of those residing in the South, think it is likely that their current home will be impacted by a flood event.

The Regulators Podcast

 Lara and Consedine

The third episode of The Regulators is now available on Spotify and Spreaker. In this edition, NAIC CEO Mike Consedine sits down with California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara to talk about climate risk and resiliency.

Please take a listen to this month's podcast

NAIC-JFSA Insurance Dialogue

 NAIC-JFSA

NAIC leadership met with representatives from the Japan Financial Services Agency (JFSA) in Washington, DC, for their 11th Insurance Regulatory Dialogue. The group discussed regulatory issues of mutual interest and key issues under consideration at the IAIS, including the ICS and the holistic framework.

 State Legislator Orientation

The NAIC is hosting the 12th Annual State Legislator and Government Official Program during the Fall National Meeting in Austin, TX. The NAIC will host sessions specifically designed to educate state legislators and government officials about the fundamentals of state-based insurance regulation, engage them in key regulatory and policy developments, and provide an overview of NAIC services to the states.

Up to $3,000 per jurisdiction is provided to offset travel expenses for your state legislator(s) or government official(s) to join you in attending the Fall National Meeting. These funds are intended to cover reasonable transportation (e.g., airfare, train), lodging and meal expenses. Their national meeting registration fee is complimentary.

Please send an email to Chara Bradstreet (cbradstreet@naic.org) by Friday, Nov. 1, with the names and email addresses of the state legislators/government officials you would like to invite to attend. A special, online meeting registration link will be sent directly to each legislator/government official. If the NAIC can be of any assistance in reaching out to your legislator(s) or government official(s), or if you have any questions, please contact Chara Bradstreet at the above email address or at (202) 649-4997.

NAIC.org Website Updates

You may have noticed some changes to the NAIC.org website over the past few months. We are working to make the site easier to use and to keep it updated ahead of a larger redesign project.

One change you may have noticed is a redirect from naic.org to naic-cms.org. These redirects are the result of the NAIC staff moving forward with a State Ahead project to migrate the NAIC website to a content management system (CMS) that runs from the cloud. This process redirection allows the migration while keeping the website up and running. This project began in July 2019 but has become more visible with the homepage of NAIC.org being redirected to the NAIC-CMS.org.

Once the migration of all the content from the static NAIC.org website to the cloud-based CMS is complete, the NAIC-CMS.org domain will be changed so it is once again NAIC.org. We anticipate completion of this phase of the project in early 2020.

 

NAIC Fall National Meeting
December 7-10, 2019
Austin, TX

The Maine Course

I'm sure many of you are asking where the summer went. I know I am. While I hope you were able to find some time to relax, it likely was after the Summer Meeting in New York. We've had a busy, productive summer.  You can view Summer National Meeting highlights in the Daily News and find a copy of my prepared remarks, a recap video and photo gallery.  

Long-term Care Meeting in NYC

Also of note in New York, we held the first public meeting of the Long-Term Care Insurance (EX) Task Force.  I'm very appreciative that all 36 members of the group were in attendance. Your continued commitment to this challenging issue is exactly what we need to find a sustainable path forward for this market.

The Regulators Podcast

The Regulators Podcast

As you know, I was part of the NAIC's inaugural episode of a new podcast last month. In this month's episode of The Regulators, NAIC CEO Mike Consedine sits down with NAIC Secretary-Treasurer and Idaho Insurance Director Dean Cameron and talks annuity suitability. Director Cameron discusses the challenges facing consumers and explores what we as regulators can do. If you haven't already, please subscribe to "The Regulators" podcast on Spreaker or Spotify and help us promote it on social media using the hashtag #TheRegulatorsPodcast.

Regulatory Leadership Forum

The Regulatory Leadership Forum is September 24-26 in Kansas City. This specialized training is designed for newer commissioners and deputies as well as candidates for Senior Professional in Insurance Regulation (SPIR) designation in state insurance departments. Offered every other year, the 2019 program features an Officer Panel discussion, interactive media workshop and an operating & underwriting management simulation – among many other topics. For more details, please contact Melissa Griffin (mlgriffin@naic.org).

Seeking Nominations for Annual Robert Dineen Award

It’s the time of year when the NAIC receives written nomination(s) for the Robert Dineen Award. This award honors a state insurance department employee for his or her outstanding contributions to the state regulation of insurance. Nomination period closes on Tuesday, October 1, 2019. For a nomination form, contact Lori Tyrer (ltyrer@naic.org).

Upcoming Insurtech Events

I know many of you are planning to attend InsureTech Connect 2019 later this month in Las Vegas. Last year more than 5,000 people attended the event, including 30 state insurance regulators, and a larger crowd is expected for this year’s program. As in past years, the NAIC will be sponsoring a “Regulator – Innovator” Workshop, which serves as a great opportunity for InsureTech start-ups and insurance industry innovators to talk with insurance regulators about new products, services and possible regulatory requirements.

You should have also received an invitation from Nebraska Insurance Director Ramge to attend the second annual Insurtech on the Silicon Prairie, an event co-hosted by the Nebraska Department of Insurance and the Nebraska Insurance Federation. Held in Omaha, the one-day event will be on October 22, from 8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m., with networking the evening before. The NAIC will pay travel expenses for any Commissioner to attend or present. Other department staff may use NAIC State Grant Funds or Midwest Zone Technical Training Funds. If you have questions, please contact Director Ramge or Peg Jasa.

Life Insurance Awareness Month

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month. Your office received a Life Insurance tool kit and Buyer's Guide to help consumers make smart choices when shopping for a policy. These materials are yours to customize and incorporate into your consumer outreach efforts.

Perhaps one of the most successful components is the  Life Insurance Policy Locator (LIPL).  Since its November 2016 launch, the service has matched several thousand beneficiaries with lost or misplaced life insurance policies or annuities, totaling more than $650 million.

I encourage you to use the information distributed and promote the LIPL with the numbers from your state. If you have questions or need help with the toolkit, have your PIO email srbryant@naic.org for assistance.

Life Insurance Twitter Chat

Part of the life insurance campaign is a Twitter Chat scheduled for Sept. 17, at 3pm EST. We will ask and answer questions about life insurance. I encourage you to spread the word and participate using the hashtag #ProtectTomorrow and #NAICInsuranceChat.

Service & Selfies

It's always great to see our members hard at work. If you have photos you'd like included, please email them to news@naic.org with a brief caption.

NAIC Fall National Meeting
December 7-10, 2019
Austin, TX

InsureTech Connect 2019
September 23-25, 2019
Las Vegas, NV

NAIC Regulatory Leadership Forum
September 24-26, 2019
Kansas City, MO