Our Spring National Meeting in Denver seems like it was yesterday. I vividly recall looking out at the snowcapped Rockies as we laid out our vision for 2017 during my first year as NAIC CEO. Now here we are in the tropical splendor of Hawaii, a perfect place to reflect on where we’ve been and map out the road ahead.
This year started with a realization and a promise. The world around us is changing at an incredible pace and in ways that will fundamentally reshape the insurance sector. We need to change with it lest we be left behind. In turn, we promised our members the NAIC would plot a course to keep state insurance regulators at the forefront of innovation and ahead of regulatory challenges. With the dedication of our members, I am proud to say we have made great strides toward these objectives.
Early in the year, under the leadership of our officers, we identified innovation and technology as two of the engines propelling us (at warp speed) towards the future. Our passage of the Insurance Data Security Model Law demonstrated our proactive engagement in this this critical area. Additionally, through major stakeholder events – including one with the Stanford Cybersecurity Initiative – we’ve created a safe space for engagement and informed policymaking as emerging technologies are increasingly applied to insurance products and services.
We accomplished major goals in the domestic policy sphere as well. We resolved the issue of a Covered Agreement with the European Union (EU) with the clarification of significant provisions of the agreement and the issuance of an accompanying policy statement acknowledging the primacy of state regulation in the U.S. Soon thereafter, we saw that official position reiterated in Treasury’s recent report on Asset Management and Insurance which also aligned with numerous NAIC policy principles. The pendulum has swung toward states taking point on domestic policy development and we are using this opportunity to build on our already world-class insurance system.
While the tumultuous world of domestic policy and legislation draws a huge amount of resources and effort (looking at you, health care!), it is important to note our international regulatory achievements. Throughout 2017, we have dramatically improved the coordination and effectiveness of “Team USA.” Our resolve and voice were heard at the recent IAIS Annual meeting where we made the case for a more flexible and inclusive process for global insurance standard setting.
While it is gratifying to highlight our policy and operational accomplishments, it is the human element of the NAIC that truly defines the character and spirit of our community. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria impacted hundreds of thousands of Americans. Such was the ferocity of Irma and Maria that we saw our own members in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands personally impacted, yet continue to help their communities recover. Just as they and other affected departments have been there for their own consumers during these trying days, weeks, and months, the NAIC was there – and will continue to be there – for our members. I could not be more proud of our team. We are at our best in the worst of times.
This year represents just the beginning of our transformational journey. Where we’re going as an organization is embodied in our forthcoming strategic plan “State Ahead,” the product of a yearlong consultative and member-driven effort. The entire NAIC is excited about State Ahead because it will position us to better serve the insurance regulators of today as well as in the exciting future ahead.
I would like to thank Commissioner Ito for graciously hosting us in his beautiful state of Hawaii. This meeting is a perfect port of departure for the next stage of our journey. I’d also like to thank President Nickel and all of the officers for their service, vision and dedication to state insurance regulation this year. The future of our system is being built on the strong foundation laid by all of our members, each a committed public servant. We owe all of you a debt of gratitude.
Mike Consedine, NAIC CEO