So there I was, editing a story by Matt Brady on the recent spring conference of the Life Insurance Settlement Association, when I came to something that really threw me for a loop.
And what was it that startled me out of my editorial trance? It was the statement by Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine that he had voted for some previous National Association of Insurance Commissioners model acts as a favor to other commissioners and with no intent of pressing for their passage in the Georgia legislature.
Call me Candide, but I have a hard time getting my head around this concept of doing a favor when it comes to state regulators and their activities in creating model acts and regulations.
I understand, of course, that this kind of horse-trading goes on all the time in the House, the Senate and the various legislative chambers in states all around the country. It is in some ways, and not all to the good, the very lifeblood or currency of the legislative process.
But somehow in my naivet?, I guess I had always held state insurance commissioners to a higher standard of intent. It’s not, after all, as if the NAIC is actually passing a law that is going to automatically be implemented as it would be if a state legislature passed it.
No, the NAIC is engaged in the business of crafting models or templates, if you will, that are supposed to have a universal applicability for the 50 or so jurisdictions it comprises (or so I always assumed was the case). Something called the general good.
Why, I find myself asking, would one commissioner need to vote for a model act as a favor to another commissioner? If the issue were such a pet project for the commissioner seeking the yea vote, wouldn’t his or her energy be better spent trying to obtain passage of legislation regarding that issue in his or her own state legislature?
What makes Oxendine’s statement particularly irritating is his admission that he voted for models that he never intended to push for.
It’s impossible to believe that Oxendine is the only commissioner to have done this. So what is going on here?