High Turnover Means Educating New Commissioners On The Issues
When the American Council of Life Insurers makes a presentation at the annual insurance commissioners meeting Feb. 3-4, there will be six new faces in the group.
And more new faces are expected in the course of the year, bringing the total of new commissioners to 23.
The changes go deeper than just the top brass. In Illinois, for example, 53 of 383 employees have decided to retire, including some seasoned regulatory veterans.
Arnold Dutcher, acting insurance director in Illinois, says the attrition was spread pretty evenly across the department with the exception of the financial examination unit which saw greater loss. That unit will now have one chief examiner for both life and health and property-casualty, he says. However, that is more a matter of “justified streamlining,” consistency and the creation of holding companies with both life and p-c affiliates, Dutcher adds.
The vacant spots cannot be filled until Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich lifts a hiring freeze instituted when he came into office, he says.
It is too early, he continues, to say how the new Democratic control of the state government will affect insurance bills that are introduced, if at all.
Mike Pickens, the new president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (see article on page 35), made the point that new commissioners will need to get up to speed on issues.
Because of the newness of issues to some commissioners, some may want to defer making any immediate decisions on these matters, according to interviews.
So, for instance, in the case of the interstate compact, a project to develop a single point of filing for life insurance products, ACLI says work should be done on product standards while new commissioners study the issue. If and when new commissioners support the compact and indicate they want to bring it to their state legislatures, ACLI will work with them at the state level, says Patricia Parachini, ACLI senior director, office of the general counsel.
But state legislatures also look different after the elections due to party changes and term limits, says Bruce Ferguson, vice president, state relations, with the ACLI.