INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 18, 2005)––A bill to modernize rate and rate filing standards “will be of great benefit to North Dakota insurance markets,” and “would send a strong message to Congress that states can improve and modernize the state system of insurance regulation,” according to testimony by the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC).
NAMIC Central Region State Affairs Manager Joe Thesing submitted testimony to the House Industry, Business and Labor Committee, chaired by State Rep. George J. Keiser. Scheduled for consideration today, HB 1329 calls for the elimination of prior regulatory approval of rate and rate filing standards for fire, property, casualty and commercial lines of insurance.
The bill requires that after Aug. 1, 2007, assuming the commissioner has filed a report with the legislative council, insurers will be required to file all personal lines rate and supplementary rate information with the commissioner no later than 30 days after the effective date of the rate. Rates need not be filed for commercial lines of insurance. The bill also grants authority to the commissioner to determine that a reasonable degree of competition does not exist within a market and provides authority to impose prior approval rate and rate filing standards on that market.
NAMIC’s number one public policy priority is the preservation of state regulation of insurance through the adoption of regulatory “modernization” laws. “Adoption of regulatory ‘modernization’ laws benefits consumers with respect to price and availability,” Thesing stated. “The elements of a modernized system of regulation include: a use-and-file system for personal lines; a no-file system for commercial lines; continued regulator authority to monitor market competition; and due process for consumers and the insurance industry.”
NAMIC is also a strong proponent of reformed market conduct and financial solvency regulation to create a safety net for consumers against haphazard business practices. “Our ultimate goal is to achieve a proper balance of regulatory focus,” Thesing stated.
Thesing cited Illinois and South Carolina as examples where “Insurance is an industry where less government control has been tested and found to be successful.