The National Association of Insurance Commissioners is looking into the possibility of developing a new rating agency.

Roger Sevigny, New Hampshire insurance commissioner and president-elect of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo., says the NAIC first must answer many questions about the project, including, “Can we do it?” and “Would the SEC be likely to bless off on it?”

“We have barely started down the road,” Sevigny says.

The idea came up in the summer, before the financial crisis erupted, then was mentioned to members of the NAIC’s executive committee, Sevigny says.

About 6 to 8 commissioners have been looking into the idea, and legal researchers are trying to determine whether the idea is viable, Sevigny says.

Sevigny says the goal would be to provide another rating agency alternative, not to make a case for state regulation over federal regulation.

The initial vision calls for the creation of a nonprofit, nationally recognized statistical rating organization.

The new agency would, in some ways, be similar to the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Commission, but it would be more independent from the NAIC, Sevigny says.

If research supports advancing the rating agency project, the project could come up before the NAIC’s executive committee as early as December, Sevigny says.