Federal Insurance Office Director Michael McRaith (AP)

Reflecting the implementation of new federal laws governing healthcare and solvency regulation, the 2012 NAIC budget proposal calls for four new major hires—managerial or analyst level positions with expertise in solvency guidance and financial analysis with respect to international or health insurance regulation.

Meanwhile, at the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) Director Michael McRaith is beefing up his office at the U.S. Treasury Department, as he announced during a hearing in Washington this week, coincidentally, on insurance and jobs.

Both agencies—neither are regulators per se, though the FIO and the NAIC do function in a quasi-regulatory or way with great future impact on the insurance industry—have key positions listed for international  insurance relations. 

One NAIC position proposal notes that, “while several NAIC financial regulatory services staff members deal with health insurance issues in the various solvency regulatory framework areas, none of them are experts in health insurance business nor have significant experience regulating insurers writing health insurance business.”

The most money budgeted for one new NAIC position is the $216,029 in funding (not salary), the highest amount requested for one position, to add a full-time international insurance professional. The NAIC pointed to the expansion in international work, specifically regarding the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) and the increased focus on financial stability globally. Solvency II initiatives have gotten a lot of attention and NAIC officials have long held that a one size fits all approach won’t work for the U.S. regulatory arena.

“Given the pace of international supervisory developments, it is critical the NAIC continues to play a leadership role, where appropriate, to ensure the perspective of U.S. state insurance regulators continues to be represented,” the budget document states.

One key NAIC personnel initiative, if not a job positon itself, is a proposal for $177,800 in 2012 to secure a “celebrity spokesperson” in its consumer communications shop to increase the public’s awareness and information from the NAIC and state insurance departments. The NAIC wants to get the public’s attention, and is also developing some NAIC smartphone apps to use alongside the effort.

The other key expertise to be recruited by the NAIC include a capital markets analyst, a health financial analyst and a health solvency policy advisor.

The health solvency policy advisor would help the NAIC gain added solvency expertise specific to health insurance business, while the health financial analysis manager would  provide improved ongoing support to financial analysis functions specifically related to health insurance plans, it said.  

“With increasing attention being given to health insurance, additional attention and work is necessary to make revisions to financial analysis solvency monitoring tools and processes; and to provide ongoing review of these processes,” the NAIC budget proposal stated.

The capital markets analyst would be a position in New York to help fill out the expanded role of the Capital Markets Bureau.

At the FIO in Washington, in addition to the late summer hire of highly-respected economist, consultant and ex-Florida regulator, Dr. Ray Spudeck, McRaith is seeking a senior international insurance relations and policy specialist, a senior insurance regulatory policy analyst, a supervisory financial analyst and a senior policy analyst, all at salaries between $123,758 and $155,500 a year, according to USAjobs.com.

The stakes are high, as the world is watching what the nation will do with solvency and financial stability in the long wake of the AIG crisis. The NAIC has been selected to host the IAIS 19th annual conference in the U.S. in 2012. The multi-day conference usually has about 500 registrants.