Great rivalries pepper human history–Sparta and Athens; Montagues and Capulets; Red Sox and Yankees.
Whether federal lawmakers and state insurance regulators will join these ranks is rightfully receiving discussion as was witnessed during the fall meeting of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in Washington. The issue surfaced several times during the gathering.
During the brand new legislative liaison meeting, State Sen. Delores Kelley, D-10th District, Md., called for more collaboration between state insurance regulators and legislators in light of the growing possibility of federal regulation.
“We are all under attack by the Feds,” Kelley noted. “We’re all in this together.” She added that if there are disagreements between state regulators and legislators, then “let’s have a fight in-house and quietly, and not in a public way that would harm us during a time of stress.”
Later during the discussion of state-federal relations, State Rep. Robert Damron, 39th District, R-Ky., echoed those words, stating, “The real enemy is across on the Hill. They love for us to fight and bicker and battle each other. Federal regulation of insurance is our opponent, not each other.”
During the session, Walter Bell, NAIC president and Alabama commissioner, said he doesn’t believe federal legislators are the NAIC’s enemy. “We work with Congress. We’d rather testify before friends than before enemies.”
So, who is right? Well, perhaps both are. And, perhaps, friend or foe is too simplistic.
More accurately, what everyone may be sensing, and reacting to, is a shift, or the possibility of major change.