Ernst Csiszar said he was resigning his positions as South Carolina insurance director and president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to become president and CEO of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, Des Plaines, Ill.
Hours after Csiszars announcement, commissioners huddled to decide what steps to take. Csiszar will assume his new post on Oct. 4.
Regulators will hold an electronic election within days to elect a new state insurance commissioner to lead the NAIC.
Under ordinary circumstances, the position of president runs through December when a new president steps in for the following calendar year. Typically, the NAIC vice president becomes president.
Jim Poolman, NAIC vice president and North Dakota insurance commissioner, says that if elected, he will continue to pursue aggressively the NAICs agenda in Congress and with state legislators, as well as its consumer initiatives.
When asked whether the cause of state regulation would be hurt in Congress by the perception of NAICs president resigning to become head of a major industry trade group before his term had expired, Poolman said he did not think so. The PCI is an active supporter of state regulation, he added.
The NAIC will continue to develop the issues it has been working on throughout the year, Poolman said. Those issues include a regulatory roadmap and quickly addressing the issue of adopting a market conduct model, he added.
When asked in an interview about criticism from Robert Hunter, insurance director of the Consumer Federation of America, about his being the latest regulator to go through the revolving door between the NAIC and the industry, Csiszar said, I reject it all. My role as a regulator will have to stand on its own and let history judge that one.
I was chief executive of a property and casualty company before I became a regulator and clearly I can distinguish between the role of the regulator and other roles, he said. Quite frankly, I reject the criticism entirely and I think it is entirely self-serving and given the source it comes from it does not surprise me.
As for his accomplishments as NAIC president, Csiszar said, Much of what you do when you are president of the NAIC is that of a figurehead, a spokesperson. If I could take any kind of credit certainly it would be our relationships in Washington; our degree of closeness with some of the key people in Washington has been extraordinary I think. So, that is worth it to me more than anything else.
Cathy Weatherford, NAIC executive vice president and CEO, said a vice president and secretary treasurer for the organization will be determined during the fall meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, next month. She said the commissioners felt it was important to get new leaders in place quickly.
When asked about the perception of state regulation in Congress and whether the cause for state regulation would be hurt, Weatherford replied that she hopes it will not be affected. NAIC has had a really strong continuity of leadership and a presence on Capitol Hill for years, she added.
Weatherford said there is a general belief among the membership that the NAIC is bigger than one person and that it is a strong organization that possesses unity and continuity of leadership.
Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, August 19, 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.