State insurance commissioners may need to establish guidelines for deciding which situations are emergencies.

Regulators talked about that topic Thursday during a conference call organized by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo.

The NAIC organized the call to consider a 9-point capital and surplus rules change proposal submitted by the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington.

Members of the NAIC executive committee voted 16-1 against sending the proposal to the plenary, the body that includes all voting NAIC members.

The NAIC executive committee was reviewing the proposal on an expedited, emergency basis. Individual states still could adopt some or all of the ACLI recommendations on their own, and the NAIC still may consider the proposal through the normal NAIC model law process.

But commissioners repeatedly said that proposal supporters had not made the case that an emergency exists.

Thomas Hampton, the District of Columbia commissioner, asked that the NAIC define the term “emergency.”

Thomas Sullivan, the Connecticut commissioner, who was the only executive committee member to vote for the ACLI proposal, supported Hampton’s request.

Hampton and Sullivan co-chair the NAIC’s capital and surplus working group, which was formed to examine the ACLI proposal.

New York Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo said he does not see the need to define “emergency,” because the ACLI, not state insurance regulators, was responsible for calling the current situation an emergency.

“Commissioners acted exactly as regulators should,” Dinallo said.

Commissioners gave the request a complete review and offered “a fast, clear, guided answer,” Dinallo said.

Al Gross, the Virginia commissioner, said the NAIC also should consider how to address state permitted practices and balance the rights of domiciliary states with the need for uniformity.

Dinallo said that, while he recognizes the benefits of uniformity, a “one size fits all approach” is not always useful, because states may have local issues related to domestic companies.