NAIFA CEO: We Didnt Change Our Policy, We Strengthened It

To The Editor:

I would like to clarify a key point in your report on the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors board action with regard to its policy concerning possible federal solutions to insurance regulatory problems.

The board voted to “strengthen” its policy with regard to federal regulation not “change” it.

In September 2002, the board voted to “support congressional action to improve and augment the regulation of insurance.” In other words, the decision to support federal solutions under the proper circumstances already was established. The boards recent action merely made it clear that such action could embrace things such as national licensing, optional federal charters for companies and a federal regulator/advocate.

This is not a change in policy, but an effort to strengthen it so that NAIFA is open to all promising options to improve the regulation of the industry.

I also would like to reiterate that NAIFA continues to be a strong supporter of state regulation and will continue to work with the states to improve the state system.

David Woods
CEO
National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors

Get Real, Mr. Hughes

To The Editor:

This letter is written in response to Gary Hughes letter that appeared in the Dec. 15, 2003, issue of National Underwriter. I have had the opportunity to read and digest the contents of Mr. Hughes letter. I was somewhat disturbed that this letter was written by a person who claims to be knowledgeable in the insurance business.

I have been in the insurance business 40 years, and seen numerous variations of the writer, the only difference is their names and faces, but their thoughts are the same, which is, everything can be better served by the federal government.

I live in rural Southeast Missouri and have agents working in Missouri, Tennessee, Illinois, Kentucky, and Arkansas. Our agency sells Medicare Supplements to residents of these individual states. Each of these states is unique with the laws that they have.

As an example, in Missouri, you cannot sell an attained age policy, you only can sell an issue age policy. Once a year, people age 65 and those that are eligible for Medicare, are guaranteed to have a policy issued regardless of their health. Is this law good? Arguably no, as it discriminates against those who take care of their health and lifestyles, but in Missouri, we do as the law says.

Arkansas has a law that a person age 65 pays the same rate as an 85-year-old pays. Is this law good? Probably not for the 65-year-old, but it is for the 85-year-old. But, in Arkansas, we do as the law asks.

When we sell in Illinois, they have an attained age law, which means that a person pays a premium based on whatever their age is at any given time. Is this law good? It depends on your perspective.

The point of all these examples is, when my agents or myself are selling in Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, or Tennessee, we are guests in those states and we obey those states laws and regulations. We have no problems with obeying these different laws and regulations; we know what they are when we go in, and we abide by them. If we cannot handle the rules, then we simply do not sell, and so far we have not had any problems.

I can just see a federal agency handling Suzy Senior Citizens complaint or question as to why she cannot get an $8.25 reimbursement on her 20% of Medicare expense. Cant you imagine her calling the federal government in Washington D.C., to see why this $8.25 was not paid?

I have had a chance to read Mr. Pickens article of Nov. 17, 2003, and find him very informative and quite reasonable and correct in his assumption. One only has to look at our federal post office system to understand why we should not have a federal insurance regulatory agency. Look at the federal banking regulations; the banks now claim that states have no jurisdiction over them. The federal Comptroller of the Currency John D. Hawke Jr. has shielded every national chartered bank from any responsibility to follow state lending laws, including but not limited to, predatory loan practices, excessive interest rates, high cost credit insurance, and sky-high ATM fees.

It is quite true that it is more difficult to do business in some states than others, but nothing could be more difficult than doing business with the federal government. It would be an absolute nightmare for policy approvals, disciplinary actions, etc.

In conclusion, I am sure Mr. Hughes is a very competent attorney, but obviously by his letter he probably has had very little experience selling insurance, working in the field or knowing what the real world is like.

Michael L. Tomlin
General Agent
Senior Health Care Benefit Services
Jackson, Mo.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, February 6, 2004. Copyright 2004 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.