Lobby Against Fed Control, NAIC President Urges

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By Gary Mogel

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NU Online News Service, June 23, 12:02 p.m. EDT, NewYork?Mike Pickens, Arkansas insurance commissioner andpresident of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners,yesterday opened the NAIC session here by reiterating his positionthat federal initiatives to regulate insurance are fatally flawedand won't work.

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"We're not trying to protect our jobs, we're trying to protectconsumers," Mr. Pickens told his fellow regulators. "Consumersdon't want to have to call Washington, D.C. in order to make acomplaint about insurance."

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He said that preserving state regulation must be a national,"not federal," movement that all the commissioners and their staffsshould work for, especially when testifying before Congress or inany other forum.

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Although Mr. Pickens conceded that state regulation needschanges to modernize it and make it more efficient, he said itgenerally works well.

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Other issues touched on by Mr. Pickens included credit scoring,model laws and protecting senior citizens from predatory insurancepractices.

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He noted that many states have adopted a version of the NationalConference of Insurance Legislators model law on credit scoring,sometimes with changes that made it even more protective ofconsumer rights.

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Regarding model laws, Mr. Pickens stressed that models should beadopted "not that three states will pass, but that an overwhelmingmajority of states will pass."

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He also strongly criticized insurance practices that takeadvantage of older people, such as the sale of annuities thatbenefit the insurers more than the people buying them.

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