BISMARCK, N.D. – Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread, along with six other Insurance Department employees, joined insurance regulators from across the U.S. last week for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) summer meeting in Philadelphia, PA. The Department was one of four state insurance regulatory agencies to receive accreditation from the NAIC Financial Regulation Standards and Accreditation Committee at the meeting.
The NAIC accreditation program establishes and maintains sound solvency regulation standards. It provides for the effective regulation of multi-state insurance companies with emphasis on each state’s:
- Financial solvency laws and regulations;
- Financial analysis and examination capabilities;
- Organizational and personnel practices; and
- Insurer organizational review, licensing and change of control of domestic insurers.
Accredited insurance departments undergo a comprehensive, independent review every five years to ensure they meet financial solvency oversight standards.
“I’m very proud of the Department’s accreditation team for attaining this achievement,” Godfread said. “This group of people has worked tirelessly to ensure that the Department be recognized for its continued dedication to providing the highest quality of service to North Dakota consumers and providers. This is a great milestone in our ongoing evolution as a state agency.”
Along with accreditation program awards, the NAIC summer meeting agenda included speakers, committee and task force meetings, and forums for discussion on all areas of the insurance industry and its regulation. NAIC President Ted Nickel shared his pride in the work being done by state regulators stating that the U.S. has the largest and most vibrant insurance marketplace in the world, healthy competition in most lines of business and a regulatory system which has withstood the dual tests of time and crisis. Nickel added that regulators must look toward the future with a purpose as they’re facing a tidal wave of change like nothing experienced in the history of insurance before.
One way in which the NAIC is helping North Dakota address this impending radical change is through a strategic planning policy initiative called “State Ahead.” The initiative is a roadmap for the next five years focusing on making improvements in the areas of safe and solvent markets, consumer protection and education, and NAIC member services and resources. As part of the State Ahead initiative, perhaps no other issue is as much at the forefront as innovation and technology. Through the Innovation and Technology Task Force formed earlier this year, the NAIC is working to understand how new technologies impact the insurance marketplace while exploring benefits to consumers, industry and regulators. Godfread represents North Dakota on the 27-member task force.
“The task force continues to monitor and encourage the development of a cybersecurity insurance market that will protect policyholders as well as drive best practices in data protection,” Godfread said. “When data is properly managed, it can improve how an insurer does business and benefits consumers. This is a goal the task force is diligently working toward.”
Health care reform was another topic of interest dominating much of the conversation at the summer meeting. Ongoing political gridlock in Washington continues to create uncertainty for consumers and markets. While state regulators work hard to ensure some measure of stability and residency, carriers are pulling out of individual markets across the nation and it is possible there will be counties, and perhaps even states, with no policies available on the Exchange in 2018. North Dakota, however, will continue to have three insurance companies offering policies on the individual market.
Finally, the summer meeting spotlighted the NAIC’s partnership with entertainer Rita Moreno. Moreno’s campaign brings attention to the importance of retirement security through early planning and making financial decisions beneficial to individuals and their families. A new public service announcement (PSA) featuring Moreno has been distributed to TV stations nationwide. The PSA gives viewers a look at a day in Moreno’s life and is rooted in her life motto – “keep moving.”
The NAIC is the U.S. standard-setting and regulatory support organization created and governed by the chief insurance regulators from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U. S. territories. Through the NAIC, state insurance regulators establish standards and best practices, conduct peer review, and coordinate their regulatory oversight. NAIC conferences are conducted at the expense of the NAIC and funding is provided to states to offset the cost of employee travel.