A member of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators made an unsuccessful attempt here to persuade colleagues to back away from the new Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Commission.
Louisiana state Rep. Shirley Bowler, R-Harahan, La., introduced a resolution that called for NCOIL, Troy, N.Y., to withdraw support from the IIPRC, Washington, which was created by the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Compact.
Members of NCOIL’s State-Federal Relations Committee rejected the resolution by a voice vote.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo., has worked to set up the compact and IIPRC in an effort to streamline the process for filing insurance products and forms, by permitting states to funnel filings for many states through a single office.
States can choose whether to join the compact. So far, 29 states have signed up.
The IIPRC has an 8-member legislative committee that includes 4 legislators from NCOIL and 4 from the National Conference of State Legislatures, Denver.
The IIPRC also has committees representing consumers and industry.
IIPRC Executive Director Frances Arricale welcomed the NCOIL life committee vote on the support withdrawal resolution.
“We are very pleased that NCOIL continues to show support for the compact,” Arricale said in an interview.
Bowler argued during the life committee session that the IIPRC is a “real aberration of government,” that is neither a state nor federal body, but rather is “somewhere in-between.”
The IIPRC now has the powers of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, Bowler said.
“There is the mistaken notion that they are a super regulator,” Bowler said. “And, believe it or not, we gave [that power] to them.”
Bowler also raised the following concerns:
- A state may have to give an explanation to the IIPRC within 10 days if it wants to opt out of an IIPRC standard.
- The IIPRC’s by-laws may conflict with state public bid laws and civil service laws by giving the commission’s management committee the authority to authorize its executive director to enter into contracts for goods and services. The by-laws also give the IIPRC executive director the authority to manage the IIPRC’s principal office, including “the hiring and supervising of the employees of the IIPRC,” Bowler said.
- The IIPRC does not yet have a code of ethics.
Arricale responded in the interview by asserting that the IIPRC does have checks and balances built into its system.
Any proposed IIPRC standard goes through a public comment period, and members of the public can ask for a public hearing, Arricale said.
Once the comment and public hearing process are over, a proposed standard goes to a management committee. A proposed standard needs to get support from two-thirds of the management committee members before it can come for a vote by the full IIPRC, Arricale said.
In response to Bowler’s other concerns, Arricale said that opting out of an IIPRC standard is a 2-part process.
A commissioner provides the reason for opting out to the state legislature, in accordance with the laws of that state, and then provides 10 days’ notice to the IIPRC, Bowler said.
The IIPRC is in the process of developing a code of ethics, and it completed its 2007 budget Feb. 28 using an open process, Arricale said.
Interested parties can comment on the IIPRC budget on a line-by-line basis, Arricale said.
John Gerni, a senior director at the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, said he was “appreciative” of NCOIL’s decision not to endorse Bowler’s resolution.
Gerni declined to comment on Bowler’s concerns about the IIPRC.
The time to evaluate the IIPRC is when a company actually files a product and puts the compact process in motion, Gerni said.