Consumer advocates finally got a chance to comment on a controversial market conduct analysis program that state insurance regulators will vote on in late September.
During a special teleconference July 28, state-funded consumer advocates emphasized the importance of the project, which would establish a procedure for collecting and storing market-conduct data from insurers. It would also determine which data from the project should be made public and which should be kept confidential.
The special teleconference was held in response to complaints of funded consumer representatives of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo., that state insurance regulators were hearing comments from industry representatives, while consumers were not receiving the same opportunity to be heard.
When questioned about the cancellation of a July 8 teleconference call in which commissioners at the NAIC were expected to vote on the project, Montana Insurance Commissioner John Morrison said that the organization decided to cancel the meeting following the resignation of Catherine Weatherford as NAIC executive vice president and CEO. The commissioners will discuss the matter during a gathering in Chicago in August, and the NAIC will vote on the issue during its fall meeting in Washington at the end of September, Morrison said.
Consumer representatives offered reasons why it was important that data be available to the public, including:
–The availability of “tens of thousands” of data points of financial information of companies but no such availability of market conduct data.
–The data project could establish a procedure for truly evaluating the merits of making individual data elements public or keeping them confidential.
–A lack of proof that industry claims that trade secrets would be violated or that there would be an “avalanche of lawsuits.”