IMSAs Director Hopes For Major Role If Federal Reform Takes Hold
The Insurance Marketplace Standards Association hopes to play a major role in helping federal lawmakers put together insurance regulatory reform legislation, possibly even becoming a self-regulatory organization on market conduct.
Its all very speculative and a lot of work still needs to be done, says Brian K. Atchinson, executive director of the Chevy Chase, Md.-based IMSA. But IMSA is a proactive organization that provides consistent and effective consumer protection standards in the life insurance industry, he says.
A lot depends on the interest of House and Senate leaders to move in the direction of an SRO, Atchinson says. There is much aversion, he says, to creating a new federal bureaucracy to regulate the insurance industry.
But he notes that the National Association of Securities Dealers, which some identify as a model for the insurance industry, is not a federal bureaucracy.
Part of the solution to the problem of regulatory reform, Atchinson says, could well include an SRO, albeit it one that would function differently from the NASD.
But he reiterates that this is all very speculative. Even if a decision is made in Congress to go in that direction, Atchinson says, a lot would have to be sorted out before creation of an SRO.
Whatever direction Congress decides to take, he says, IMSA can provide guidance on establishing uniformity in market conduct.
IMSA, Atchinson notes, already offers a consistent set of national standards for marketplace conduct.
There is no need to reinvent the wheel, he says. Sixty percent of the life insurance marketplace is abiding by the standards put in place by IMSA. When you have 60% of the marketplace, it makes perfect sense to build on that.
There is a very compelling need for improvement in insurance regulation, says Atchinson, who is a former insurance commissioner of Maine and past president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.