Belmar, NJ – The National Council of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) concluded a successful 2023 Annual National Meeting from November 15th – 18th in Columbus, OH. In what was the last of the organization’s three National Meetings in 2023, there were 347 participants consisting of 52 legislators from 25 states, 7 first-time legislators, 6 Insurance Commissioners (or equivalent), and 16 total insurance departments represented.
Additionally, a new slate of Officers was elected for the upcoming year which featured a majority-diverse group for the first time in NCOIL history. Louisiana Representative Edmond Jordan will serve as Secretary, the first step in the NCOIL Officer ranks, Minnesota Senator Paul Utke will serve as Treasurer, New York Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter will serve as Vice President, and Texas Representative Tom Oliverson M.D., will serve as President. Outgoing President Representative Deborah Ferguson, DDS, will serve as Immediate Past President.
“During my final meeting as NCOIL President, I was pleased to see the organization finish off 2023 in a really strong way and continue building on the momentum of the past few years,” said Arkansas Representative Deborah Ferguson, DDS, who concluded her term as NCOIL President at the conclusion of the Meeting. “In addition to advancing our policy priorities, we have strived this past year to create an atmosphere that is more welcoming for people of diverse viewpoints to contribute to our discussions which really is key in reaching consensus on the issues. As our membership has changed, so too has our Officer Group evolved naturally so that over the past few years has come to be more reflective of America as a whole.”
The packed agenda featured discussions on topics such as: the continued growth and prevalence of artificial intelligence; the return of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule; insurance issues related to catalytic converter theft; medical loss ratios for dental (DLR) health care services plans; public adjuster professional standards reform; and more.
NCOIL CEO Commissioner Tom Considine said, “NCOIL rounded out 2023 in a very strong way which is a testament to the hard work of President Ferguson and the Officers as well as our Committee leadership and everyone who has participated at NCOIL this past year. The Model Laws we adopted and issues we discussed shows how NCOIL continues to lead on pressing insurance public policy issues and sets the organization up for a busy 2024, led by this wonderful Officer group of Rep. Oliverson, Asw. Hunter, Sen. Utke, Rep. Jordan, and Rep. Ferguson.”
At the traditional Welcome Breakfast, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine delivered a highly interesting Keynote Address. Governor DeWine spoke on what makes Ohio unique as well as the importance of state-based insurance regulation.
The policy Committee meetings then kicked off with the Health Insurance & Long Term Care Issues Committee, chaired by West Virginia Delegate Steve Westfall. The Committee adopted a Resolution in support of an embedded provision in state’s insurance code to protect health savings account-qualified health insurance policies from certain state benefit mandates, sponsored by North Dakota Senator Jerry Klein. The Committee also continued discussion on the NCOIL Medical Loss Ratios for Dental (DLR) Health Care Services Plans Model Act.
“The Committee had a very productive meeting in Columbus and I was glad to see the adoption of the health savings account Resolution,” said Del. Westfall. “The Committee also came very close to voting on the DLR Model, but it was ultimately agreed that we need some more time to further discuss some of the issues. I look forward to the Committee meeting via Zoom to vote on the Model in advance of the April National Meeting.”
Following that, a general session titled “Artificial Intelligence: A Major Benefit or Likely Menace for Insurance and Society?” was moderated by Oklahoma Representative Forrest Bennett, Chair of the NCOIL Financial Services & Multi-Lines Issues Committee. “This was an important session to hold as the rapid development of AI means legislators will have to work quickly to address the concerns surrounding the technology. AI is sure to impact every industry and insurance is no exception,” said Rep. Bennett.
The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Committee, chaired by Ohio Senator Bob Hackett, met and heard an update on Federal workers’ compensation issues. The Committee also discussed medical marijuana’s impact on the workers’ compensation marketplace, and overall work comp trends in light of continued advancements in medical treatment and diagnosis.
“This was a busy agenda for the Workers’ Compensation Committee and I’m glad we were able to cover a lot of material and provide valuable information for legislators to take home to their states,” said Sen. Hackett. “I was particularly glad that we were able to host the meeting right in my home state and show off Ohio as a great place to visit.”
South Carolina Representative Carl Anderson then Chaired the Life Insurance & Financial Planning Committee. The Committee discussed: the NCOIL Life Insurance is a Promise for Life Model Act sponsored by Indiana Senator Travis Holdman; the return of the U.S. Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule; and the activities of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)’s Securities Valuation Office (SVO).
“This was an important time for the Committee to meet, particularly in light of the recent DOL Fiduciary rule proposal. The proposed rule undermines the state-based system of insurance regulation and our meeting made clear that state legislators will stay vigilant and push back on any and all attempts by the Federal government to encroach on that system,” said Rep. Anderson.
The day concluded with the meeting of the Nominating Committee which voted to recommend the slate of new officers for next year.
Rep. Oliverson said, “I am honored to be elected NCOIL President and look forward to working with my fellow Officers to continue advancing the organization. There are many pressing insurance public policy issues on the horizon for next year and I’m confident we are ready to hit the ground running.”
“It is important that we continue to strive to make NCOIL look more like America and that starts with our leadership. Diverse perspectives are essential to the success of any organization especially one that influences public policy in every state across the country,” said Rep. Ferguson.
“Having a majority-diverse officer group that encompasses a range of talent, thought, and background will serve NCOIL well in the years to come.”
Friday began with a meeting of the NCOIL Financial Services & Multi-Lines Issues Committee chaired by Rep. Bennett. The Committee adopted amendments to the NCOIL Insurance ECommerce Model Act sponsored by Rep. Jordan; heard a presentation on earned wage access products; discussed inflation’s impact on the insurance marketplace; and adopted a Resolution in Support of Establishing National Standards and Procedures for the Reporting and Payment of Premium Taxes Due as a Result of Direct Procurement, sponsored by Rep. Oliverson.
A very productive NCOIL-NAIC Dialogue was then held which included a strong lineup of NAIC representatives: Kentucky Commissioner Sharon Clark; Louisiana Commissioner Jim Donelon; Maryland Commissioner Kathleen Birrane; Oklahoma Commissioner Glen Mulready; and Rhode Island Superintendent Beth Dwyer.
“I was glad to see the positive working relationship between NCOIL and the NAIC continue to strengthen this year. Coming together to exchange our perspectives and ideas is essential in creating the best insurance public policy possible for consumers. We made significant progress discussing a wide array of issues in Columbus and I look forward to our organizations working together for years to come,” said Rep. Ferguson.
Ohio Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted then delivered an address at Friday’s Luncheon. He spoke on why Ohio is a great place to live and answered questions on topics ranging from Ohio’s importance in electoral politics to the state’s policy on medical cannabis.
NCOIL CEO Commissioner Tom Considine then presented the NCOIL Lifetime Achievement award to Cmsr. Donelon. “Commissioner Jim Donelon is an insurance public policy legend who has been an excellent public servant for the people of Louisiana and has also greatly benefitted public policy nationally through his leadership at the NAIC. I was very proud to present this award to him on behalf of NCOIL,” said Cmsr. Considine.
The focus then shifted to the final part of a yearlong series of general sessions focused on different types of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) policy, with this session focusing on governance aspects and serving as a summary of the series. The series was co-facilitated by New York Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter, NCOIL Vice President, and Texas Representative Tom Oliverson, M.D., NCOIL President.
“This was a valuable series that provided legislators with nuanced perspectives on all three components of ESG policy. I was particularly happy with how the series sparked a constructive dialogue among our members which will serve us well as we deal with ESG issues in our respective legislatures,” said Asw. Hunter.
Following that was a meeting of the Property & Casualty Insurance Committee, chaired by Rep. Jordan. The Committee continued discussions on the NCOIL Catalytic Converter Theft Prevention Model Act sponsored by Rep. Oliverson and Rep. Jordan, and the NCOIL Public Adjuster Professional Standards Reform Model Act sponsored by Kentucky Representative Michael Meredith and co-sponsored by Indiana Representative Matt Lehman and Del. Westfall.
The Committee also re-adopted with amendments the NCOIL Model State Uniform Building Code and heard a presentation from Tom Travis of the Louisiana Department of Insurance regarding the state’s highly successful Fortify Homes Program. The Committee also adopted amendments to the NCOIL Delivery Network Company (DNC) Insurance Model Act sponsored by Del. Westfall and Kentucky Representative Michael Sarge Pollock.
Rep. Jordan said, “The Committee had a productive year and I’m proud of the work we accomplished on a host of issues impacting the property & casualty insurance marketplace. With growing concerns over things like insurance underwriting transparency and the damage caused by an increased frequency in natural disasters, it is important that legislators are well prepared to address these issues as they arise in their states.”
Friday concluded with a meeting of the NCOIL Budget Committee, chaired by Asw. Hunter, in which the Committee adopted the 2024 NCOIL Budget. The Budget was later adopted by the Executive Committee as a whole on Saturday.
“It is just so gratifying to look back and see how NCOIL has grown from a position of financial instability 7 years ago to one now where we are in a more than sound financial position brought about by more states, more legislators, and strong support from sponsors ranging from insurers & other corporations, to think tanks, to consumer groups and other non-profits,” said Rep. Ferguson.
Saturday began with a general session titled “Whose Claim is This Anyway? Examining a Legislative Framework for Litigation Funding,” moderated by Rep. Lehman. “This topic has garnered a lot of attention recently making this the perfect time for NCOIL to address it from a bipartisan legislative perspective. As we consider developing model policy surrounding litigation funding, this session was important to ensure that we have a well-informed understanding of the topic,” said Rep. Lehman.
The Joint State-Federal Relations & International Insurance Issues Committee, chaired by Utah Representative Jim Dunnigan, then met and heard presentations on the latest developments related to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The Committee also began discussions on a Model Law relating to mental health parity, sponsored by Kentucky Representative Rachel Roberts.
“It is important that state legislators remain engaged on issues with our Federal counterparts and that we continue to make sure our perspectives are heard. Federal inaction on things such as a long term reauthorization of the NFIP underscores how important it is for the states to continue to advocate for reforms and meetings like these are an important part of that,” said Rep. Dunnigan.
The Annual Meeting concluded Saturday morning with a meeting of the NCOIL Executive Committee during which Rep. Oliverson was officially sworn in as NCOIL President.
“Having been involved with NCOIL for many years now, it has been great to see the organization’s continued growth and success. I’m thankful to the work Representative Ferguson and other past NCOIL Presidents have done to build such a solid foundation for NCOIL to advance in 2024 and beyond,” concluded Rep. Oliverson.
The 2024 NCOIL Spring Meeting is scheduled to take place at the Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown Hotel in Nashville, TN from April 11th – 14th. Registration will open in January.