ATLANTA (Sept. 23, 2009) At the close of its annual Convention the outgoing National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies chairman Bruce Thomas looked back on a tumultuous year in office.
Thomas assumed the chairmanship less than three weeks after the collapse of Lehman Bros. and just over a month before the election of President Barack Obama. To say was a chaotic time for the property/casualty insurance industry, and for the country as a whole, is an understatement.
“My yearlong tenure as chairman began in the midst of tremendous uncertainty,” Thomas said. “The financial crisis had just begun and threats of an aggressive regulatory overhaul were just starting.”
Throughout his tenure as chairman, Thomas’ message has been a simple one; make a difference. “I chose this theme before learning about the changes taking place, but it really seemed to fit the times we were in,” he said. “With all the misconceptions about our industry being circulated, we had a perfect opportunity to make a difference, and we still do.”
NAMIC president and CEO Chuck Chamness noted just how much NAMIC has done in the past year towards making a difference. Since this time last year, NAMIC has twice given testimony to congressional committees, submitted written testimony, distributed the issue analysis “Financial Oversight Failure Highlights Effectiveness of Insurance Regulation,” and has met continuously with federal lawmakers and their staffs.
“Our goal throughout this tumult has been to redefine the situation and differentiate our industry from others in the financial services sector directly responsible for this crisis,” Chamness said. “Today, policymakers, consumers, and the media are finally beginning to understand that our industry is a rock-steady ship in a financial hurricane.”
While federal issues have made the headlines for the past year, NAMIC has continued its impressive work in the states as well, by meeting new challenges and defeating Trial Bar initiatives on Bad Faith as well as multiple attempts to roll-back insurance scoring.
“It seems nothing can stop legislatures from debating the use of credit-based insurance scoring in underwriting,” Chamness said, including 18 studies, repeated testimony or policy papers. “This past year, 24 state legislatures decided to ignore the facts, instead basing their decisions on politically motivated opinion,” he added. “This short-sightedness resulted in the introduction of no less than 48 bills that would have banned or limited the use of credit-based insurance scoring. I am proud to say that because of the work of NAMIC’s state affairs managers and our trade partners, none of these bills passed.”
Both Thomas and Chamness were quick to assign credit for these success not only to NAMIC’s staff, but to NAMIC members as well. Taken one by one, Thomas noted, NAMIC members may appear to be simply small companies unable to be heard amidst the din of the crowd. “But that’s where NAMIC comes in,” Thomas said. “NAMIC makes a difference by unifying many voices into a large one. With this large voice, we have made a difference.”
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Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2009 12:00:00 AM. Modified: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 12:09:22 PM.
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