Washington’s Mike Kreidler Vows to Protect Trust Relationship Between Insurers, Consumers

October 12, 2006

Washington Commissioner Mike Kreidler is proud of his state’s consumer record and how it has dealt with brokerage compensation and uninsured motorist concerns. Now, he wants to open up closed claims for medical malpractice to inform that debate.

In an exclusive video interview with Insurance Journal’s Andrew Simpson at a recent meeting of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kreidler shared how all of these efforts have been made keeping the trust relationship between consumers and insurers in mind.

Insurance is a business that’s built on trust, he said, noting that it works similar to banking, in which the bank loans someone money and trust the person will pay back the loan. “[Insurance] is based on a promise. They’ve sold you a policy; they said you file a claim, they’ll recognize the claim and have the resources to back it up,” he said. “Anytime you have trust, we need to make sure consumer protection is vigorously adhered to — much more so and much more important in my mind for insurance than it is for banking. Trust and consumer protection go hand in hand.”

So, for example, in the medical malpractice debate, Kreidler said he wants to open up closed claims dealing with medical malpractice so that the Office of Insurance Commissioner can compile hard data on where sources of the problems are and target any solutions in the future.

The medical malpractice insurance market has not been volatile in the past couple of years, Kreidler said, but markets are cyclical. Another 10 years from now, we’ll go through one of these market cycles and people will be saying we have a medical malpractice insurance crisis because of changes in market conditions,” he said. By opening up the data, the OIC “will have facts to identify what or if we need to make changes in the system as a result of the problems.”

To hear more about Commissioner Kreidler’s plans on how he plans to protect consumers by addressing issues such as medical malpractice to climate change, visit www.insurancejournal.com/broadcasts/.

The online video interview with Kreidler is one in a series of 15 interviews with state regulators titled, “The Commissioners,” all of which are available online on the Insurance Journal Web site.

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