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The Revolving Door Connecting Insurance coverage Regulators with the Supposedly Regulated Insurance coverage Trade | Property Insurance coverage Protection Regulation Weblog


Yesterday’s submit, Will Residents Property Insurance coverage Disputes Be Dealt with By Authorities Administrative Judges?, ended with the hope that Florida’s Workplace of Insurance coverage Regulation would reply to Residents request for an endorsement by searching of policyholder pursuits. In a remark to the weblog submit, Mike Cappelli commented by saying that Florida’s OIR was a “rubber stamp.”

Final week, Doug Quinn of the American Policyholders Affiliation gave a speech the place he raised the difficulty that many state insurance coverage regulators are merely in a “revolving door” with the identical individuals they regulated. It’s nearly a fake state of affairs that they’re searching for insurance coverage shoppers. He has educational help for that place.

A 1993 article by the Washington Put up, Insurance coverage Regulator’ Revolving Door Stirs Doubts, said:

Throughout the nation, state governments steadily recruit insurance coverage regulators from the trade itself, and people officers simply as generally return to that non-public sector, armed with skilled contacts they made whereas in workplace.

…[A]s main segments of the insurance coverage trade face monetary disaster and shaken shopper confidence, there are new questions on whether or not regulators are sufficiently impartial of the trade to implement laws.

At conferences of the Nationwide Affiliation of Insurance coverage Commissioners (NAIC), a non-public affiliation that’s the closest factor to a nationwide insurance coverage regulatory physique, many former commissioners and authorities regulators are fixtures, both working for insurance coverage corporations straight or lobbying on behalf of insurance coverage shoppers. Of the ten former presidents of the NAIC from 1981 to 1990, 9 both got here from or went to positions within the trade.

. . . .

However some federal lawmakers and trade watchdog teams contend that the revolving door creates an environment and relationship that’s unhealthy and makes it simpler for insurance coverage corporations to form regulation to their benefit.

‘It’s a particularly harmful state of affairs, first as a result of it undermines the credibility of the method even when nothing is fallacious,’ stated J. Robert Hunter of the Nationwide Insurance coverage Shopper Group. ‘However it may be loads worse than that. It will probably undermine the {regulatory} course of itself’ by giving the trade an inside monitor on potential regulatory actions.

A 1990 examine sponsored partially by the trade discovered fast turnover amongst regulators and documented that over 5 years within the Nineteen Eighties, roughly half of the commissioners who left workplace went to jobs within the trade.

In 2016, the Heart For Public Integrity printed a examine, Drinks, Dinners, Junkets and Jobs: How The Insurance coverage Trade Courts State Commissioners, with a key discovering:

Half of the 109 insurance coverage commissioners who’ve left their posts within the final decade have gone on to work for the insurance coverage trade — many leaving earlier than their phrases expire. Simply two moved into shopper advocacy.

The article additional famous:

Shopper advocates and a few commissioners say the tight bond between regulators and trade — bolstered by marketing campaign contributions, lavish dinners and the prospect of future employment — diminishes shoppers’ voices as insurers press fee will increase, form laws and scuttle investigations.

‘It’s very tough at occasions to take a stand for shoppers and have your voice heard,’ stated Sally McCarty, a former Indiana commissioner and retired shopper advocate. ‘Loads of commissioners don’t trouble doing that for that cause — and so they don’t need to alienate the trade. …Many individuals think about the job an audition for a better-paying job.’

In his speech, Doug Quinn cited a more moderen examine from 2021, The Revolving Door and Insurance coverage Solvency Regulation, which discovered the next:

One main concern is that insurance coverage regulation happens on the state degree, which may result in doubtlessly inconsistent, and thus inefficient, regulation throughout states. Inside every state, insurance coverage regulation is led by a commissioner, who has vital private discretion. Anecdotal proof suggests one of many components affecting their conduct would be the revolving door: Public regulators exiting for jobs within the trade they regulated. Notably, former commissioner Sally McCarty claims her colleagues not often take a tough stance towards the insurance coverage trade, as a result of many commissioners think about the job an audition for a better-paying job.

Are Florida’s insurance coverage commissioner and his employees merely auditioning for a job with the insurance coverage trade and appearing as its “rubber stamp?” I have no idea. I want they might present up at shopper occasions and even take heed to the issues we, as shopper advocates, categorical. Sadly, they merely ignore us and barely attain out. It isn’t that method in different states. Many associates like Mike Cappelli inform me that Commissioner Altmaier and his employees merely do the bidding of the insurance coverage trade.

For my part, Florida’s technique of insurance coverage regulation doesn’t work effectively. Florida has an unelected insurance coverage commissioner overseeing the Workplace of Insurance coverage Regulation and a separate company overseeing the insurance coverage individuals licensed to promote and alter insurance coverage claims by the Division of Monetary Providers. I said in Did Florida Mistakenly Place an Insurer Into Insolvency, Attempt to Disqualify the Regulation Agency That Pointed Out the Mistake and Hurt 91,000 Policyholders By Fast and Pointless Non-Renewals?:

Over the previous month I’ve been finding out how Florida, in contrast to another state, separates the regulation of its insurance coverage into two completely different businesses: the Workplace of Insurance coverage Regulation and the Division of Monetary Providers. I’m not saying if that is fallacious or proper, however no person else is doing it this manner. This cut up strategy can result in a number of errors if communication shouldn’t be good between the 2 state businesses.

Doug Quinn with the American Policyholders Affiliation stands up for abused policyholders. Amy Bach and her wonderful group at United Policyholders rise up for policyholder rights. The place does your insurance coverage commissioner stand? You’ll have to go to a celebration sponsored by an insurance coverage firm at a Nationwide Affiliation of Insurance coverage Commissioners assembly to seek out out.

Thought For The Day

Regulatory failings imply that the price of breaking the legislation is much beneath that of obeying it – companies are happier to pay fines than to manage air pollution.
—Ma Jun

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