Spitzer Denies Report of Plan to Cede Probes to Feds; Vows New Action in Early Part of New Year

December 27, 2004

  • December 29, 2004 at 1:58 am
    anonconsumeradvocate says:
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    It is unfortunate that some bad activity by some bad people has resulted in a twisted sense of purpose for a limited few politicians, getting more press than they should.

    As a participant in a major consumer group we have seen this before. Although I am out of this side of things, I follow the issue since I spent some time learning the industry for some large cases.

    Overregulation, usually does not benefit consumers as relates to most industry’s like insurance. Competition and capacity is good for consumers. Insurance Departments and A/G’s should work on getting more carriers to write business and open their scope. The mergers of carriers, has reduced the number of carriers competing in a region.

    Let law enforcement hunt down the bad guys who are breaking laws. Bid rigging is horrible, and should be punished. Same for anti-trust and steering.

    Rewarding good distributors for a job well done through profit sharing is as American as apple pie and the year end bonus. It is also good business for insurance companies who count on these people to help qualify the good from the bad during the sales process. It is good for consumers since a healthy insurance company is a good thing.

    Going down a regulatory path is very dangerous. All states do not agree on the insurance regulation issue today, and consumers and needs are also not the same across the USA. This issue of “disclosure” has already slowed many other priority consumer issues within Ins Depts. If my memory is correct isn’t NY one of the stand outs that has not played along with other states ?

    One consistent factor remains, regardless of regulation: More capacity results in competition and rate reduction. The fastest way to hurt the consumer is to remove availability which results in a lowering of capacity. I think NJ just added Geico and before that Mercury. Applause to a department that woke up after 30 years and realized over-regulating free markets is bad for consumers, agents and carriers.

    Those who view insurance as a commodity; some form of simple quote to buy process that should include complex “consumer” disclosures simply do not understand the differences between the buying public and the industry. The buying process, as well as renewal process, is far more complicated than buying a stock, a car, or a home where much more of the obligation is on the buyer.

    Insurance agents also have far reaching long term professional liability exposures on a daily basis, more like accountants, attorneys and physicians who also maintain the same clients for years. There is a huge weight on these agents to do a good job. Add heavy competition, and strict licensing requirements and this is good for a consumer. It works now.

    Let us hope that the Industry Associations will speak clearly to protect consumers from the real down sides of this trend towards complexed over disclosure.

    Another big consumer issue I see is the costs dropped on smaller agents (local business who employ local staff) to comply will certainly result in many agents or brokers not working on lower premium risks, which appear to be borderline profitable today. These smaller accounts need insurance too and agents who can spend the time educating and servicing them.

    After reading the initial reports, being a consumer activist, I must admit the kneejerk was “wow” what overwhelming evidence of widespread corruption throughout the industry. Over time it appears this is not the case, but is limited to mostly the Largest Brokers within the more narrow audience of large clients. The “practices” named in the complaint (like profit sharing, or bonusing production) seem to be more the result of attorneys being thorough just in case they needed to bring it up again later. However some have grasped these supporting issues as primary.

    So where are all the consumer protests, and legislators rushing to pass bills ??. They are very few and far between. It looks like this issue has now blurred into reviewing the competitive practices of the entire US insurance industry, one of the best, secure, and consistent in the world.

    What is feared is that some regulators are looking for cracks in a foundation as they pound it with a sledgehammer, and are not listening to their own consumer or industry groups. The effects of bad judgement today, to get elected tomorrow will hurts millions of insurance buyers for many, many, years to come.

    I hope some legislators see this for the waste of time and money that it is becoming and focus back on the real consumers it will hurt.

  • December 28, 2004 at 3:06 am
    Gail Bundy says:
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    Hey Spitzer, why don’t you just admit it?
    All this print is good for your run for

  • December 28, 2004 at 3:44 am
    Chuck says:
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    I do think he enjoys seeing his name in the paper, if not every day, then at least once a week.

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