Ricardo Lara (Photo: Lara/Flickr) Ricardo Lara (Photo: Lara/Flickr)

Members of the California Insurance Committee voted 14-0 Wednesday to approve Assembly Bill 1591 — a bill that could increase the amount of information lawmakers receive from the state’s insurance commissioner.

AB 1591 would require the California insurance commissioner to inform members of key policy and fiscal committees of National  Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) activities at least every other year. The commissioner’s office would need to identify laws that could authorize future NAIC changes to take effect in California without additional legislative action.

“The purpose of this act is to ensure that the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and the National Council of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) are properly supported so insurance public policymakers are kept informed concerning issues that are dependent on legislative authority,” according to the bill text.

(Related: Dan Morrish to Lead State Insurance Legislator Group)

The current California insurance commissioner is Ricardo Lara.

AB 1591 was introduced in February by  Assemblyman Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, Calif.

Cooley wants AB 1591 to help California’s state legislature play a more active role in oversight of the creation of model insurance policies developed by interstate regulatory insurance organizations, by increasing legislators’ understanding of the process and strengthening their oversight, according to Assembly analysts.

The Background

Cooley had sponsored a draft resolution with aims similar to AB 1591 at NCOIL’s annual meeting, in December of 2018. In that draft measure, Cooley asserted that state insurance commissioners operate under a delegation of authority from their respective legislative branch, but without oversight of state legislators.

Proposals to strengthen legislators’ role in insurance regulation were a key focus of NCOIL’s meeting last year. Since its creation in 1969, the organization has sought to bring state insurance and financial committee members from across the nation together. NCOIL has said that one of its goals is to improve the quality of insurance regulation. The group says it also wants to guard against encroachments on state primacy in overseeing insurance.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is a group for the insurance regulators from all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. It helps coordinate regulatory oversight and helps regulators set standards and best practices. While most insurance commissioners are appointed, some, including the California commissioner, are elected.

Resources

The bill can be found here.

To read more about NCOIL’s defense of states’ rights, go here.

— Read Republican Questions Constitutionality of Insurance Regulatory System, on ThinkAdvisor.

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