NU Online News Service, Jan. 28, 2004, 11:05 a.m. EST – Consumer advocate Robert Hunter is blasting a decision by the National Conference of Insurance Legislators to restrict public access to its Web site.[@@]
Hunter is assailing the Albany, N.Y., group because he says it represents public servants who should be serving the public with open access to information.
The decision to restrict access “is an unnecessary barrier to erect between NCOIL and the public, especially from an organization dominated by insurance company delegates at your meetings and heavily made up of part-time legislators who are full-time insurance industry employees,” Hunter says.
NCOIL has announced that starting Feb. 1 it will be using a password system to control access to its Web site, at http://www.ncoil.org. Committee working drafts will remain open to the public until adopted by NCOIL.
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Once a model is adopted, NCOIL will charge a fee for access. NCOIL also will charge for access to issue papers and meeting minutes. A fee schedule will be decided in roughly a week, according to NCOIL spokesman Candace Frick.
Hunter says NCOIL is “a bad organization that is dominated by industry interests and is so anti-consumer.”
NCOIL now waives a few meeting fees for consumer representatives, Hunter concedes. But, unlike the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo., NCOIL does not cover consumer rep expenses, Hunter says.