The activities of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners always claim a large piece of the program at the meetings of the National Alliance of Life Companies, and this year’s spring meeting was no exception.
In a session that looked at the situation the NAIC has been facing since Gramm- Leach-Bliley was enacted in 1999, Ann Henstrand, vice president with MetLife, New York, said that while there are many parallels between what the NAIC is doing today and what it did after Rep. John Dingell’s Failed Promises report was issued in the early 90s, there are also key differences.
The Dingell report came out as a result of massive insurance company insolvencies in the early 1990s and put a lot of pressure on the NAIC to get its financial reporting regulatory act together. Similarly, GLB has put pressure on the NAIC to work out the inefficiencies of the state regulatory system in the face of streamlined federal regulation of financial services.
Among the differences between now and then that Henstrand enumerated are:
–Now, federal chartering proposals are coming from insurers and trade groups, not from Dingell, D-Mich., and his staff;
–Relations between state insurance commissioners and state legislators are much stronger today than they were before;
–The NAIC’s office in Kansas City is much larger today, which provides a lot of “institutional momentum;”
–A strong web of relationships has formed between state regulators and their federal counterparts in the last few years. Now, many federal representatives show up at NAIC meetings and also hold closed-door meetings with insurance departments around the country. “There is a strong relationship building program going on.”