Consumer Watchdog: Most NAIC Commissioners Have Industry Ties

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At least 26 of the commissioners at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) have strong ties to the insurance industry, Consumer Watchdog says.

Consumer Watchdog, Santa Monica, Calif., reports that 24 commissioners worked in the insurance industry before being appointed and that two elected commissioners – Ralph Hudgens of Georgia and Sandy Praeger of Kansas – depended heavily on insurance industry campaign contributions.

Hudgens and Praeger both counted the insurance industry as their top source of contributions, Consumer Watchdog says, citing statistics from the National Institute on Money in State Politics, Helena, Mont.

The group says six past presidents of the NAIC, Kansas City, Mo., who ended their terms in 2000 or later have gone on to work for the insurance industry as lobbyists or consultants.

Consumer Watchdog released the analysis as the NAIC was preparing to meet in Austin, Texas.

The group says:

  • The NAIC should prohibit former commissioners from taking an insurance industry job for at least a year after leaving office.
  • The NAIC should keep former commissioners who go to work for the insurance industry from lobbying former colleagues.
  • Governors should avoid appointing insurance industry executives to be insurance commissioners.
  • States should prohibit the insurance industry from contributing to the campaigns of insurance commissioner candidates.

Closing the revolving door between the insurance industry and regulators is especially important today because of the prominent role the NAIC is playing in health reform implementation, according to Carmen Baler, Consumer Watchdog’ Washington director.

Consumer Watchdog was previously known as the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights. It helped pass California’s Proposition 103 property-casualty insurance rate control law.

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