NU Online News Service, June 25, 8:50 a.m. – State regulation is doing a good job, and that message needs to be delivered to Congress, asserts Frank Fitzgerald, commissioner of the Michigan office of financial and insurance services.
Fitzgerald is cochair of a working group of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo., that is developing an interstate compact draft that is expected to be rolled out to state legislatures starting in January 2003. The compact would establish a single point of filing for life insurance products.
The compact project is one of several initiatives state regulators are undertaking to streamline state regulation and reinforce the idea that it remains a relevant way to regulate insurance.
Fitzgerald says that what state insurance commissioners have managed to do over the past year is “a phenomenal achievement” and that work should be presented in “detailed and forceful testimony” to Congress and any one else questioning the effectiveness of state regulation.
Members of Congress have expressed doubt over the role of state insurance regulation. During a hearing last month of the House Financial Services Committee, some skepticism was raised over the ability of the NAIC to achieve necessary regulatory reforms (see NU, June 24.)
Fitzgerald says he believes that members of Congress still have an open mind about the effectiveness of state regulation.
Those who question how state insurance regulation is working, he says, should recognize the advances made in the last year and a half in streamlining regulation.
During that period, state insurance regulators have been working on more efficient market conduct oversight, development of a producer licensing system to respond to changes mandated by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, and speed-to-market initiatives.
Speaking of the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, Fitzgerald says that “on my darker days, I wonder if anything we can do would satisfy that association. Fortunately, I don’t have many dark days.”