NU Online News Service, April 29, 2004, 2:04 p.m. EDT – A committee at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo., has approved a market conduct model law that is based on a model adopted by the National Conference of Insurance Legislators.[@@]

Members of the Kansas City, Mo., group’s market regulation and consumer affairs “D” committee voted 9-0 to advance the model. Delaware, Idaho and Missouri abstained, and a representative for Florida was not present for the vote.

The model now will go to the NAIC’s executive committee. The executive committee can decide whether to send the model to the full membership of the NAIC, or plenary, for a vote on final adoption.

NCOIL, Albany, N.Y., adopted its version of the model law Feb. 27. The model encourages regulators to use data analysis and other methods to target exams at insurers that appear to need extra attention.

Changes made to the NAIC’s version of the NCOIL Market Conduct Surveillance model law include:

- Language that says a state insurance commissioner would provide a written explanation when a market conduct exam was called. Based on that written explanation, an insurer could request an informal hearing but would not have a right to an administrative hearing.

- A requirement that insurers that belong to a best practices organization adhere to the organization’s standards.

A commissioner could consider membership in best practices organizations when levying market conduct fines, but that would not be mandatory, says Joel Ario, NAIC secretary-treasurer and Oregon insurance administrator, who is heading the market conduct effort.

Ario says NCOIL has expressed some concerns that changes the NAIC had made to its model were more than just technical in nature. There could be more discussion about the changes and input from NCOIL at the executive committee level, Ario says.

North Carolina has asked about the effects of the model on a state that requires insurers to undergo market conduct exams every 3 or 5 years.

Ario says the ultimate goal would be for market analysis and targeted exams to replace laws that require all insurers to undergo regular exams.