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NAIC May Limit Consumer Rep Speaking Fees

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Insurance commissioners and the individuals who represent consumer interests in National Association of Insurance Commissioners proceedings are discussing a consumer rep conflict-of-interest policy.

The NAIC, Kansas City, Mo., provides funding for the consumer reps to carry out their duties.

During a recent meeting of the NAIC’s consumer board of trustees, discussion focused on how to create broad guidelines for preventing consumer rep conflicts of interest, rather than a limited list of do’s and don’ts.

The issue is expected to come up at the fall NAIC meeting in Washington.

In March, the NAIC executive committee and the NAIC plenary – a body that includes all voting members of the NAIC — adopted a conflict-of-interest policy for regulators.

The NAIC now is considering a proposal to require consumer reps to notify the board within 7 days of receiving compensation or an agreement to receive compensation.

The NAIC could use the notice to determine whether a conflict of interest exists, proposal advocates say.

The current version of the proposal calls for the consumer board of trustees to keep financial information submitted confidential.

Consumer reps and Sean Dilweg, Wisconsin insurance commissioner and chair of the meeting, seemed to agree at the consumer board meeting that consumer reps could receive an honorarium to speak at a trade group conference but should not receive a fee to testify for the insurance industry on a specific industry position.

Meeting participants talked about the difference between a consumer rep getting a token honorarium to speak at a hemophilia association meeting and getting a $50,000 fee to take an industry position.

Constance Chamberlin, a funded rep and president of Housing Opportunities Made Equal, Richmond, Va., said there is no conceivable way to list all possible conflicts of interest.

Birny Birnbaum, a funded rep who is executive director of the Center for Economic Justice, Austin, Texas, said there should at least be some examples of what types of arrangements do and do not create potential conflicts of interest.


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