NU Online News Service, April 14, 2003, 5:25 p.m. EDT – South Carolina officially launched its ASSURE program today.

ASSURE stands for “Alliance for Sound State Uniform Regulatory Efficiency.”

Insurance regulators in at least 16 states are setting up ASSURE programs to promote the benefits of state insurance regulation, but South Carolina is the first to implement its program, officials say.

South Carolina Insurance Director Ernst Csiszar said that state insurance regulators can and should make any improvements in the current regulatory system that might be necessary, and that state regulators can do a better job than federal regulators at helping states hang on to premium taxes and contributions to state guaranty funds.

Mike Pickens, president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo., said insurance regulators in states that have ASSURE programs will choose committee chairs who will oversee steering committees that will publicize the importance of state insurance regulation.

The educational efforts will be ongoing and not just issue specific, Pickens said.