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Financial-Services Reform Underscores Need for Unity.

Members of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners who worked on a consumer-protection policy at the winter meeting in San Francisco face a gamut of challenges--especially in light of recently passed financial-services reform.

States have the right to enact even stronger consumer protection than what is called for in the Financial Services Modernization Act, but members of the working group want states to work together in this process.

"We're concerned that we don't end up with 49 different laws," said Larry Kibbee of the Alliance of American Insurers. "State insurance commissioners have to start this process of developing a uniform law very quickly."

If the law isn't in place by the spring, federal law takes over protection of consumer information.

Industry representatives expressed concern to commissioners over how they would ensure that states continue to regulate insurance.

Connecticut Commissioner George Reider Jr., who is ending his term as NAIC president, said he and Kentucky Insurance Commissioner George Nichols III, the incoming NAIC president, have testified before Congress and, for the past year and a half, have had "a working relationship" with the Federal Reserve.

A possible threat to state regulators are state attorneys general--many of whom have talked about pursuing more stringent consumer protection, said Robyn Rowen of the National Association of Independent Insurers.

"We need the attorneys general to understand that uniformity is very important to the insurance industry and for consumers. We need the insurance regulators to get that message to the attorneys general," she said.
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Publication:Best's Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2000
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