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Six people who say they represent the interests of consumers have joined the Consumer Liaison Program team at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC.)

The NAIC has a total of 34 consumer representatives, including 20 who get financial help from the NAIC with participating in NAIC proceedings and 14 who pay their own way.

(Related: New York City May Add $100 Million Primary Health Program for the Uninsured)

The NAIC has added three ”funded” consumer reps for 2019 and three unfunded reps.

The three new funded reps are:

  • Luc Athayde-Rizzaro: Policy counsel at the National Center for Transgender Equality.
  • Erica Eversman: President of the Automotive Education & Policy Institute.
  • Justin Giovannelli: Associate research professor at the Georgetown University Center on Health Insurance Reform.

The three new unfunded reps are:

  • Benjamin Chandhok: Senior director of state legislative affairs at the Arthritis Foundation.
  • Ken Klein: Professor of law at California Western School of Law.
  • Harold M. Ting: A consumer advocate volunteer at the Chester County Department of Aging Services Apprise Program.

The NAIC Consumer Liaison Program

The United States lets states regulate the business of insurance.

The NAIC is a Kansas City, Missouri-based group for state insurance groups. It cannot normally change state insurance laws or regulations itself, but states can choose to start with NAIC models or other documents when developing and implementing their own insurance rules. In some cases, states arrange for certain types of NAIC standards, such as financial reporting form updates, to take effect automatically.

The NAIC created the Consumer Liaison Committee in an effort to give consumers a voice in the NAIC’s in-person meetings, conference call meetings and other activities.

“The NAIC defines a consumer organization as a national, state, or local organization that serves to protect the interests of consumers as they relate to the regulation of insurance,” according to an NAIC statement about the liaison program on the liaison program section of the NAIC’s website. “Their participation at NAIC meetings should represent a consumer perspective and should be based on their desire to collect and/or impart information of mutual concern and interest to insurance consumers and regulators. One measure of whether an organization represents a consumer perspective is its source of funding. By definition, an organization that receives significant funding from the insurance industry is not a consumer organization.”

The Future

Rep. Maxine Waters D-Calif., is now the chair of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee. The list of new members on the committee includes Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.

New York state has a new insurance superintendent, Linda Lacewell, a New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio, who has been taking attention away from the state’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, with benefits-related program proposals.

(Related: New York City May Add $100 Million Primary Health Program for the Uninsured)

California has a new Democratic insurance commissioner, Ricardo Lara, who as a state senator, proposed the launch of a state-run, single-payer health care system that could have prohibited the sale of private health insurance.

The conditions in Washington, and in states with democratic governors, could be conducive to the consumer reps’ concerns and proposals, such as their concerns about individual major medical insurance rules and sales standards for annuities and other retirement planning products, getting more attention.

(Related: Annuity Rules Should Apply to Investment-Type Life Products: Consumer Reps)

NAIC Committee Leaders

The NAIC has also announced the 2019 committee leadership assignments:

  • Life Insurance and Annuities Committee: Doug Ommen, the Iowa commissioner, is the chair. Stephen Taylor, the D.C. commissioner, is the vice chair.
  • Health Insurance and Managed Care Committee: Jessica Altman, the Pennsylvania commissioner, is the chair. Lori Wing-Heier, the Alaska insurance division director, is the vice chair.
  • Financial Condition Committee: David Altmaier, the Florida commissioner, is the chair. Tom Glause, the Wyoming commissioner, is the vice chair.

Resources

The NAIC’s website section for the Consumer Liaison Program is available here.

— Read New Calif. Governor Proposes Middle-Income Health Premium Subsidy, on ThinkAdvisor.

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