Collaboration With Insurance Agents Aids in State Regulation

November 5, 2008

The property/casualty insurance marketplace could not function without insurance agents and brokers. Consequently, it’s important for state regulators to work with agents within their states.

Recently, several insurance commissioners from Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oregon and Wisconsin sat down with Insurance Journal’s Ken St. Onge at the recent National Association of Insurance Commissioners meeting to talk about how their departments’ are affected by their relationships with agents.

How State Regulators Feel About Agents

According to former Oregon Insurance Administrator Scott Kipper, who left the state Department of Consumer and Business Services on Oct. 31, 2008, Oregon has “a great relationship with agents, and that’s all the way from our licensing area on up to our administration.”

“Oregon has a history of being very collaborative, working with our stakeholders,” he said.

According to Kipper, such a collaborative approach with independent agents has helped the department focus its efforts to improve insurance regulation and to better serve consumers.

“We have a number of producers on a couple of our insurance advisory committees. They’ve been very helpful in giving us the heads-up or pointing out areas that we need to focus on. We have — certainly I have — an open door policy, and meet with agents and agents groups on a very regular basis.”

For instance, such a collaborative approach helped when the state began developing its catastrophe plan, Kipper noted.

“There was a special session that was held by the Legislature this February. One of the bills that came out of that was a directive for the division and the department to draft rules to address what happens in the event of a catastrophic event, which we’ve done,” he said. “We drafted those rules, and now are getting prepared to draft some directives that we would have in place so that if another catastrophe took place, we would be able to pull those directives off the shelf and put them into use.

“The good thing about this is we have a very collaborative group of stakeholders in our state,” he emphasized. “By stakeholders I mean consumers, consumer groups, producers and carriers. We have worked in the past, and I would envision with this process, worked together to put this directive together that would allow some very good regulatory oversight as to what happens during an emergency, but also give those stakeholders a heads-up as to what to prepare for when a catastrophe does strike, and those emergency rules are invoked.

To view the entire interview Insurance Journal’s St. Onge conducted with Commissioner, Kipper, visit Insurance Journal TV

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