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Surveys: Regulatory Efficiency Moves May Be Working

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Efforts to develop a market conduct analysis program seem to be paying off.[@@]

Regulators heard 2 reports supporting that conclusion here at the winter meeting of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo.

One of the reports, a Market Analyst Scorecard, was developed by regulators.

The other report, a survey report, was developed by a group of insurance trade associations.

The regulators’ Market Analyst Scorecard shows that 51 jurisdictions have designated insurance market analysis coordinators.

A total of 49 states have completed core complaint analyses and given data on nationally significant companies to the NAIC’s market analysis working group.

Montana and South Dakota have not yet completed core analyses or provided data on nationally significant companies, but officials in those states say they intend to complete the analyses and provide the data, according to NAIC Vice President Joel Ario, Oregon’s insurance administrator.

Regulators also reported that 48 states and the District of Columbia have complied with the market analysis checklist requirements in the NAIC Market Analysis Handbook. Regulators will be giving extra attention to 45 companies as a result of the information gathered through the checklist process.

Using market analysis to focus exams has helped reduced the number of exams conducted during the first 11 months of 2004 by 16% from the total conducted during the comparable period in 2003, according to the NAIC.

The group that developed the second report, the trade association survey report, included the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Chicago; the Insurance Marketplace Standard Association, Washington; and several property-casualty insurance associations.

The industry survey looked at 192 market conduct exams started in 35 states on or after Jan. 1, 2003.

The survey included 86 targeted exams, 106 comprehensive exams, and 64 exams that involved the use of outside contract examiners.

Although “regulators are striving to adhere to uniformity standards,” one-third of the exams deviated from the NAIC uniformity standards, according to the authors of the industry survey report.

The most common deviations from the uniform standards were failures to identify items to be billed, failures to identify billing procedures and failures to provide time and cost estimates, according to the report authors.

Many examiners also failed to provide draft reports within 60 days of the completion of their exams, according to the report authors.

“Our overall sense is that there has been real progress,” said Linda Lanam, vice president-annuities at the ACLI.

The ACLI recognizes that market conduct exams and some use of outside contractors are still necessary, Lanam said.

But the ACLI is hoping improved state collaboration will reduce the number of exams and that regulators will find ways to reduce use of outside contracts, Lanam said.


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