By

Anchorage, Alaska

In elections held at their fall meeting here, state regulators elected Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Diane Koken as the new president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Joel Ario, Oregon administrator and current NAIC secretary-treasurer, will become vice president, while Alessandro Iuppa, Maine Superintendent, will be secretary-treasurer, according to Roger Hoadley, NAIC spokesman. Elections must be held again in December, the normal annual cycle for the change in leadership for the organization of state regulators, he added.

Koken says she is ready to commit for a 15-month period because she believes that level of continuity is needed to advance ongoing NAIC efforts to streamline and preserve state insurance regulation.

In the coming year, she explains, those efforts will include working with Congress on the SMART Act, getting the new Market Conduct Surveillance Model Act adopted in the states, and continuing to work with the International Association of Insurance Supervisors on accounting standards.

According to Koken, the best case for state regulation is the access that local consumers have when there are problems, such as when a tornado hit Pennsylvania. During an address to commissioners, Koken said many officials showed up right after the tornado, but a month later it was the insurance department that continued to help consumers with questions they had.

Koken said the interruption in the NAIC leadership will not affect the perception of state insurance regulation when the NAIC works with Congress in the coming year because there are commissioners at the NAIC who understand the issues that have been under discussion.

Ario said the SMART Act proposal introduced by Reps. Michael Oxley and Richard Baker, would most likely be a major issue that the new leadership would be working on.

Iuppa said he will continue to work on issues in which the NAIC is involved, including international accounting issues. That work includes direct contact with the international accounting standards board that began a year-and-a-half ago, he added.

The interim elections followed the announcement by former NAIC President Ernst Csiszar, who was South Carolina director, that he would leave to head the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, Des Plaines, Ill. Within a week of Csiszars announcement, North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jim Poolman resigned as vice president, saying he would run for reelection as commissioner but would relinquish his leadership post to spend more time with his family.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, September 16, 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.