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A market conduct surveillance model act is important to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners overall market conduct program and will be adopted in some form, says Joel Ario, NAIC secretary-treasurer.

Ario, the Oregon insurance administrator who is spearheading the market conduct effort, says currently there are talks to achieve consensus in a model that comes before the executive committee and potentially the plenary of the organization, based in Kansas City, Mo.

In all likelihood, the model will be adopted at the spring NAIC meeting later this month and possibly before that if consensus is reached, according to Ario.

The draft model before the executive committee is based on a model adopted by the National Conference of Insurance Legislators, Albany, N.Y., on Feb. 27. It contains changes to the NCOIL model that received significant comment from regulators, NCOIL and both life and property-casualty insurers.

Ario says all these parties are part of the discussion and that changes in the NAIC version of the model were really a clarification of points that had been left vague in order to reach consensus when NCOIL was putting the model together. The NAIC draft is an effort to drill down on those points, he explains.

For instance, he says, discussion continues over whether the model should be worded so that changes to a handbook for market conduct would be automatic when the NAIC makes changes, or whether action would have to be taken by state legislators in each state.

If no consensus is found with the current draft, one option would be to adopt the NCOIL version of the model, Ario says. However, there are changes regulators felt should be made, so there are differences with NCOILs version, he adds.

But, more important, Ario stresses, is that the core principles are the same for both versions: market analysis is the foundation of the program and the use of resources is based on market analysis.

“We are urging the NAIC to adopt the NCOIL model that was adopted by us in February,” says Tim Tucker, NCOIL director of state-federal affairs. “It is a good compromise that will improve market conduct exponentially.”

If changes are made to the model, there could be a loss of broad support, Tucker continues. There are some small, technical points that NCOIL is willing to consider, he says.

NCOIL fully intends to include its market conduct model as part of a legislative package that addresses rates as well as the Interstate Compact, an NAIC initiative that creates a single point of filing for some life insurance products, Tucker says. This package could be used by state legislators to introduce legislation, he explains.

During the development of the NAIC draft, some regulators including Jorge Gomez, Wisconsin insurance commissioner, had expressed concern over the new wording.

A spokesperson for the Wisconsin department, Eileen Mallow, says Gomez has not seen changes since the model was adopted by the NAICs “D” committee. The commissioners concern, she continues, is that “the authority of state regulators not be gutted in the model.”

Ario explains that the market conduct model is one piece of a comprehensive program to create a better system of market conduct regulation.

That system includes a market conduct examiners handbook, collaborative interstate efforts of 20 states, the appointment of market conduct coordinators in each state and a data call project, according to Ario.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, June 4, 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.