NU Online News Service, July 29, 6:10 p.m. – The National Association of Insurance Commissioners is still deciding how to collect data for a 10-state market conduct pilot project set to start Sept. 1.

The Kansas City, Mo., group is organizing the pilot project in an effort to streamline the market conduct examination process.

Regulators, consumer advocates and life insurers have been talking about the number of life insurers that should be included in the data call, and the best strategy for analyzing and holding the data.

Some regulators and industry representatives say collecting data for all life insurers domiciled in all pilot-project states would generate too much data, but more participants favor the idea of including all the insurers, rather than focusing on the bigger insurers.

Advocates of “total inclusion” argue that excusing the smaller insurers would weaken the quality of the pilot project’s results, and that total inclusion would provide a better picture of the market.

Participants are also disagreeing about the wisdom of storing the market conduct data received in one central location.

Birny Birnbaum, executive director of the Center for Economic Justice, Austin, Texas, is one of the consumer advocates arguing that the participating states should store their data in a central spot.

But Linda Lanam, deputy general counsel with the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, says insurers fear that confidential company information might become public if it is processed in a central location.

Lanam also talked about the burden the data call will impose on life insurers.

Insurers might have to perform manual file reviews to produce some of the required information, because some of the information is not available on their computers, Lanam warns.

Insurers want assurances that regulators will not ask for the same data every year, Lanam says.