INDIANAPOLIS (March 3, 2005)—“NAMIC applauds the Nebraska Senate for taking the next logical step in modernizing the state’s regulatory process by approving Insurance Commissioner Tim Wagner’s omnibus insurance bill, which includes personal lines rate and form modernization,” said Joe Thesing, National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) central region state affairs manager. “Wagner’s leadership on regulatory modernization deserves recognition and should serve as an example to other insurance regulators.”
Nebraska’s unicameral Senate unanimously approved LB 119 by a vote of 40-0, today. Gov. Dave Heineman is expected to sign the bill into law. It would become effective Sept. 4, 2005.
Enactment of LB 119 moves Nebraska from a prior approval system of rate and form filing to a file and use system for personal lines. In 2003, the state enacted commercial lines modernization. In 2004, personal lines legislation similar to that found in LB 119 was introduced and headed for enactment, but the legislature ran out of time before adjournment.
“Passage of LB 119 will be of great benefit to Nebraska’s insurance markets and will send a strong message to Congress that states can improve and modernize the state system of insurance regulation. States have successfully regulated the business of insurance for more than 150 years. Although not perfect, the state system is adaptable, innovative and can be tailored to meet the needs of local markets—certainly more so than an unproven new system of federal regulation. Nonetheless, improvements along the lines of LB 119 are needed,” Thesing added.
“Changing Nebraska’s rate and rate filing standards will ensure that insurance companies are able to deliver insurance products to market quickly and efficiently, helping stimulate competition and directly benefiting consumers through greater availability and competitive prices for insurance products,” said Thesing.
“Commissioner Wagner and the staff of the Department of Insurance deserve a great deal of credit for approving rate filings in a professional and timely manner. Most, if not all, insurance companies doing business in Nebraska agree that Commissioner Wagner and his staff are an excellent example of why states should remain the sole regulators of the insurance industry. However, not every regulator is as fair as Commissioner Wagner. Enactment of LB 119 will ensure prompt availability of affordable insurance products regardless of who serves as insurance commissioner,” Thesing stated.
“The Nebraska Insurance Information Service (NIIS), a NAMIC State Advocacy Partner, and other industry advocates also deserve recognition for their efforts to educate the legislature of the importance of regulatory modernization and its positive impact on consumers,” added Thesing.
Over the past two years, nine states have adopted some form of regulatory modernization. In 2003, modernizing legislation was adopted in Nebraska (commercial lines), New Hampshire (commercial lines), New Jersey (auto) and Louisiana (personal lines). In 2004, modernizing legislation was adopted in Massachusetts (commercial), Oklahoma (personal lines), Rhode Island (personal lines), South Carolina (homeowners) and South Dakota (personal and commercial lines). Currently for personal lines, 18 states observe prior approval, 23 states observe file-and-use and nine states observe use-and-file systems of rate regulation.
For further information, contact
Rick Nelson, APR
Public Affairs Manager
(317) 875-5250 ext. 1054
Founded in 1895, NAMIC is a full-service national trade association with more than 1,400 member companies that underwrite 43 percent ($196 billion) of the property/casualty insurance premium in the United States. NAMIC members account for 44 percent of the homeowners market, 38 percent of the automobile market, 39 percent of the workers’ compensation market, and 31 percent of the commercial property and liability market. NAMIC benefits member companies through advocacy, public policy and member services. Information about the association, its member companies and the property/casualty insurance industry can be found at NAMIC Online, www.namic.org.