Gerhart: U.S. Has a Good Story to Tell at the Global Insurance Symposium

By Stephanie K. Jones | April 22, 2014

The state of Iowa on May 20-22, 2014, will host its first ever Global Insurance Symposium, a privately funded event that aims to bring insurance professionals and regulators from around the world together to discuss the challenges facing the global insurance industry and how those challenges may impact the insurance business in the United States.

Organized by the Greater Des Moines Partnership, the Iowa Economic Development Authority and Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart, keynote speakers include Japan’s Vice Commissioner Masamichi Kono; T.S.Vijayan, chairman of the India Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA); Michael Kehr, with Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), and Sen. Ben Nelson, chief executive officer of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart
Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart

Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart says the state-based insurance regulatory system in the United States has a good story to tell and he plans to take the opportunity at the forum to share that message with the world.

Gerhart said the idea for the symposium came from a discussion about global insurance issues and regulations and the impact they are having on insurance business in the United States.

Iowa annually hosts the World Food Prize, an award that recognizes international contributions that held ensure a safe, nutritious and sustainable world food supply. The annual event also serves as a showcase for agricultural innovations in Iowa and the United States.

Gerhart and his co-hosts felt a Global Insurance Symposium would present a similar opportunity to highlight the insurance industry and the regulatory environment in the United States.

“The United States regulatory system is unique in the sense that we have 56 jurisdictions that regulate the business of insurance. Most countries have one regulator. So part of my goal is to showcase how our state-based system works, why it works well,” Gerhart said in a podcast interview with Insurance Journal.

In addition to regulators from Germany, India and Japan, insurance commissioners from around the United States will participate in the forum, along with the NAIC’s Sen. Nelson and Michael McRaith, director of the Federal Insurance Office and former director of the Illinois Department of Insurance.

“I think we have four or five commissioners from around the country that are going to participate in the commissioner’s panel,” Gerhart said.

The insurance industry will be represented by a panel of insurance company CEOs, who will “discuss what keeps them up at nights, what markets are they doing business in, what trends are happening internationally that they’re aware of, how does the U.S. market compare to other countries they do business in, things of that nature,” Gerhart said.

He also expects reinsurance to be much discussed at the forum. To that end, a reinsurance panel will include an investment banker, a reinsurance company executive and a reinsurance broker.

“S&P is going to kick the whole think off with hot topics and what’s going on in the insurance business. And we also have a gentleman from JP Morgan who’s going to be speaking about global investment trends,” Gerhart said. “So there’s something really for everybody whether you’re a regulator or in the industry or just interested in the issues.”

Listen to the full podcast interview with Commissioner Nick Gerhart on IJTV.

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