The National Association of Insurance Commissioners says it wants to hear from the public about the American Council Life Insurers’ proposal to ease financial pressure on insurers by changing capital and surplus rules.

Officers at the NAIC, Kansas City, Mo., talked about the proposal and the hearing today during a meeting of the NAIC’s executive committee and plenary.

The plenary is the body that includes all voting members of the NAIC.

Earlier, some had suggested that the NAIC might vote on the proposal today, but officials said during the meeting that the NAIC’s Capital and Surplus Working Group will have a public hearing on the proposal in Washington Jan. 27, then release a report in early February.

It is not clear whether the NAIC will vote on the proposal from the ACLI, Washington, in time for the proposal to affect 2008 financial statements.

The ACLI, which sent the capital and surplus proposal to commissioners in November 2008, says that the changes in the rules would help its members, and that some of the proposed changes would simply speed up NAIC projects that are already under way.

Adopting 3 of the 9 components in the proposal would improve insurers’ financial standing by about $9.6 billion to $16.4 billion, the ACLI estimates.

In December 2008, NAIC technical groups supported 2 of the proposed components; rejected 3 components; offered to support 2 components if changes were made; and rejected 2 other components but offered alternative solutions.

Consumer representatives say the NAIC is making too little information about the proposal consideration process available to the public.

ACLI discussions about the proposal with commissioners have been private, and the NAIC has discussed the proposal in public at just one half-hour meeting, consumer reps say.