Paying It Forward Was Never So Easy

October 29, 2019 Each year on that special day in May (or December), hundreds of thousands of college students don their caps and gowns to parade in front of cheering family, friends, peers, and professors commemorating their four (or more) years of... Read more

If It’s Fall – It Must be Mutual Factor Time!

October 2, 2019 You know it’s fall when you start hearing about football, pumpkin-spiced lattes, Halloween, and of course, the Mutual Factor. Yes, you heard right – The 2019 Mutual Factor is back for the second year in a row, and it’s bigger and better than... Read more

My Mutual Moment

September 25, 2019 Next year I will have been with NAMIC for a quarter of a century. I love this association, this industry, and the people in it, and I believe that mutual insurance companies, with their noble purpose and long and storied history, are the best... Read more

Measuring Innovation

August 5, 2019 Innovation. It’s a word that dominates business meetings throughout corporate America. In fact, I challenge you to identify a conference or strategic planning session that doesn’t feature innovation on its agenda. And with good reason; the ability to... Read more

CELEBRATING AOB VICTORY IN THE SUNSHINE STATE; BUT BATTLE NOT OVER

May 24, 2019 It’s been seven long years in the making, but finally, after years of contentious battle, the people in the white hats... Read more

Matching Rate with Risk: Progress Amid Gridlock

May 2, 2019 For most, the fresh hints of Spring in the air are a reminder that summer, and that upcoming beach vacation, are fast approaching. For those of us in the business of risk management, those smells of... Read more

TRIA a Success, But Still a Necessity

March 29, 2019 This year marks the first time a child born after 9/11 will turn 18. At times it still feels like only yesterday that these attacks happened, but so much has changed since then. While we may not have held onto the feeling of unity we had in the days... Read more

Bad Medicine for Insurance

March 5, 2019 I suspect everyone reading this column recognizes that bad faith legislation is bad medicine for insurance markets, insurance companies, and the policyholders served by them. If a policyholder were to ask why... Read more

On the Right Track With NAMIC Compliance Resources

December 5, 2018 As we hit the home stretch of 2018, I wanted to share some exciting news with you about NAMIC’s compliance resources. The NAMIC board has identified compliance as an area of focus, and we’ve put a tremendous amount of time and energy into improving... Read more

Finding Other Ways to Win

November 30, 2018 In the wake of the mid-term elections that saw Republicans take advantage of a favorable electoral map to grow their Senate majority while Democrats gained 40 seats to win control of the House, one of the few things we know for sure about the... Read more

Be Heard on Election Day

October 30, 2018 As happens every two years or so, there has been a host of celebrities and citizens, from President Trump to Taylor Swift, encouraging Americans on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to ensure their voices are heard by voting on (or before)... Read more

And the Survey Says...

October 9, 2018 No, I'm not talking about our latest round of Family Feud during the political season at the Chamness House. I'm talking about three research projects that NAMIC has undertaken in the past couple of months - two of them designed to help gather... Read more

Florence Shows Why We Need the DRRA

September 18, 2018 Over the past week, it was virtually impossible to avoid the news, warnings, and states of emergency declared for Hurricane Florence. And while folks in North and South Carolina are beginning to pick up the pieces, there are thousands of families in... Read more

No Letting Up in Challenge to Disparate Impact Rule

August 22, 2018 In connection with NAMIC's continuing federal court case against the Department of Housing and Urban Development disparate impact regulation, HUD asked (again) for comments on the rule, including whether it should be... Read more

Be Heard by HUD on Misguided Disparate Impact Rule

July 19, 2018 NAMIC has left no stone unturned in its pursuit of protecting the interests of member companies in challenging the 2013 disparate impact rule by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This rule opens the door to a wave of litigation by... Read more

What’s Past is Prologue

June 25, 2018 A bit of news broke in the insurance trade association world last week. Kurt Bock, chairman of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America and CEO of COUNTRY Financial, and <strong>Anthony Kuczinski, chairman of the American Insurance... Read more

Being the Industry ‘Pace Car’ on Automated Vehicle Technology

May 29, 2018 Memorial Day Weekend is a time for remembering our nation’s fallen heroes, and more than 350,000 people in Indiana did that prior to watching fast cars drive 500 miles in an enormous stadium whose infield could contain Churchill Downs, Yankee Stadium ... Read more

HUD Litigation Update - Delays, Disclosures & Exasperation

May 11, 2018 As you all know by now, NAMIC has been fighting the Department of Housing and Urban Development over its attempt to impose a disparate impact standard on the pricing and provision... Read more

The Frustrating Reality That is Distracted Driving

May 2, 2018 I’ve been thinking a lot about distracted driving recently. Maybe it’s because Distracted Driving Awareness Month just wrapped up or maybe it’s because, as I commute about 30 minutes to work each day, I see far too many drivers... Read more

Welcome to the World of Podcasting - NAMIC-Style!

April 2, 2018 Just a few months ago, at the NAMIC convention in Denver, we unveiled the association's new look, complete with a new logo, a new website, and a new contemporary approach to our communications with... Read more

Winning in Washington

March 14, 2018 As every American is painfully aware, Washington has been mired in increasing partisanship and discord in recent years. Good ideas are opposed if they are presented by the wrong person or party. Congress seems to only pass ... Read more

The Potential of Blockchain

March 2, 2018 While most of you have seen headlines about the wild swings (up and down) in the new world of cryptocurrency, Bitcoin being the most common, what you may not realize is the potential the... Read more

How You Win a Tax Reform Debate

December 20, 2017 Well, they did it. President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress are passing a comprehensive tax reform package, marking the first major rewrite of the nation&rsquo;s federal tax code in more than 30 years... Read more

Same Great Story, New Modern Look

September 27, 2017 If you opened this CEO Perspective because you thought something looked ... well ... different ... you were right. That's because today marks the official launch of the newly rebranded National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies. Read more

Revisiting Old Lessons on the Anniversary of Hurricane Andrew

August 24, 2017 One of the most effective tools at our disposal when making a decision -- be it personal or professional -- is our knowledge of history. It helps us understand what worked in... Read more

The Future is Now - Automated Cars Take Center Stage in Washington

July 31, 2017 Not so long ago, driverless cars seemed a far-off, into-the-future fantasy. The kind of thing only found in science fiction movies or cartoons, certainly not on America&rsquo;s roadways... Read more

NAMIC Board Meets With Secretary Mnuchin to Discuss Covered Agreement

July 17, 2017 If you had told me on January 13 that roughly six months later the Trump would still have not signed the covered agreement with the EU and NAMIC’s Board of Directors would be... Read more

When a Restatement is Not a Restatement

May 4, 2017 NAMIC members are well aware of our traditional advocacy efforts in state capitals, in Washington, D.C., at the NAIC, and in certain international forums. While those... Read more

NAMIC's 100 Days of 2017

April 28, 2017 April 29 marks the official end of the first 100-days of the Trump administration. But rather than rehashing our president's record, I thought this would be a fitting time to... Read more

Spring Heats Up With State Legislative Action

March 28, 2017 Late March not only marks the official start of spring, but also the midway point for many state legislatures around the country, and even the end of the line for a few. So it seems a good time to... Read more

McCarran-Ferguson Under Threat...Again

February 28, 2017 A funny thing, though not an unexpected one, happened during a House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing. I was there on behalf of NAMIC members to... Read more

"When You're Finished Changing..."

February 21, 2017 As we emerge from one of the strongest years in NAMIC's long history - with a 2016 record of great advocacy successes; growth in products, services, and... Read more

Telling the Mutual Story to Close the Talent Gap

February 1, 2017 You've no doubt heard that the insurance industry is facing a major challenge and a monumental task. I'm not talking international regulation or global competition or technological advancements, although, as we all know, those are... Read more

2017 Federal Outlook

January 27, 2017 It's all official now. President Donald Trump has taken the oath of office, Congress is in session, and cabinet nominees are slowly but surely making their way through the confirmation process. With everyone taking their... Read more

The Just-Unveiled Covered Agreement and Our 2017 State Legislative Priorities

January 13, 2017 Barely two weeks into the new year, and it&rsquo;s already shaping up to be a very active 2017. First some breaking news on the international front with an update on the covered agreement. With just days left in the Obama administration... Read more

McRaith's Resignation, Covered Agreements, and the FIO's Future

January 6, 2017 Along with a new administration comes literally thousands of jobs to fill, particularly when the White House transitions from one party to the other. Yesterday, we learned... Read more

Literally Shaping the Debate

December 13, 2016 Perhaps if more NAMIC members were quoted on the floor of the House of Representatives, Washington wouldn&rsquo;t be quite so dysfunctional. At least that was the thought running through my... Read more

Selection of Consedine as New NAIC CEO a Good Choice

December 11, 2016 The NAIC is having its fall meeting this weekend in Miami, and one of the most talked about items coming into the meeting was whether the organization would... Read more

After the Election

November 7, 2016 With any luck, tomorrow's most rancorous presidential campaign of our lifetime will end. Voters will finish casting their ballots (including, I hope, every NAMIC member) to decide our next president and vice president, many... Read more

The Next ‘Big One’ Arrives

October 7, 2016 The most ferocious hurricane of the past 10 years is continuing its relentless path along the east coast of Florida and up the southeastern portion of the United States just one week after National Preparedness Month drew to a close. More than... Read more

Member Engagement Key to Protecting Mutuals in BCRM Process

August 1, 2016 While our primary responsibility to NAMIC members is to advocate on your behalf and represent your interests with federal, state and international policymakers, we also have an obligation to address other... Read more

A Milestone for the Property/Casualty Insurance Industry

May 25, 2016 NAMIC has taken another important step down the path toward one of our boldest federal advocacy efforts yet &ndash; changing the fundamental thinking behind... Read more

A Positive Signal From the Federal Reserve, at Last?

May 23, 2016 Friday at the NAIC's International Forum in Washington, D.C., Federal Reserve Board Governor Daniel Tarullo publically addressed for the first time how the Fed will develop an... Read more

Insurance Compliance Made Easy

January 29, 2016 We told you about it at the annual convention in San Diego, and now it’s here – NAMIC’s dynamic new compliance tool is up and running with the official launch of CompliPoint. Read more

Beyond the 'Covered Agreement'

January 14, 2016 In an early December CEO Perspective – A Test for TEAM USA – I discussed the recent announcement from the Federal Insurance Office and the U.S. Trade Representative that officials were ready to embark on negotiations with the European Union about a "cov... Read more

A Big Victory for Small Mutual Insurers

December 18, 2015 By now you’ve seen that Congress not only managed to keep the government’s lights on, after giving itself a couple of extensions, but even passed tax legislation. These two major legislative packages contained a number of victories for NAMIC members, in... Read more

A Test for ‘Team USA’

December 4, 2015 You may remember NAMIC’s 119th Annual Convention at National Harbor, Maryland, in 2014. In front of a packed audience, there was much said as to how this “Team USA” would protect and advance the interests of the U.S. insurance industry at home and abroad. Read more

Ten Years After Katrina: Learning to Build for the Next Storm

August 28, 2015 Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina swept over the Gulf Coast, killing more than 1,800 people and devastating the lives of tens of thousands and their communities. The images we saw of the storm’s aftermath changed our nation, and our industry, forever. Read more

NAMIC’s Challenge to the Disparate Impact Rule: Where are We Now and Where are We Going?

July 23, 2015 From the outset, NAMIC has opposed the Department of Housing and Urban Development rule applying a disparate impact standard to the pricing and provision of homeowners insurance. Our team tried to reason with HUD and have the rule revised, but it refuse... Read more

SCOTUS Rules, but Disparate Impact Challenge Far From Over

July 2, 2015 Well, the Supreme Court ruled and, to the surprise of many on both sides of the issue, the lack of language making disparate impact claims cognizable under the Fair Housing Act turns out to be no impediment to disparate impact claims being cognizable un... Read more

New Mutual Benchmarking Service - Investments

June 18, 2015 We are pleased to present NAMIC members with the inaugural issue of NAMIC’s Property/ Casualty Investment Performance Evaluation Standards – PIPES – Report. Read more

Loud and Clear

March 23, 2015 Open any newspaper, turn on any broadcast news program and there’s likely an abundance of coverage on issues impacting the insurance industry. Read more

An Eye on the Eyes in the Skies

February 26, 2015 NAMIC’s white paper provides insight into the emerging issue of drones, addressing the many complicated aspects that still need resolution through the federal regulatory process before drone users will be able to adequately protect themselves from loss. Read more

NAMIC Prevails - D.C. District Court Vacates HUD Rule

November 4, 2014 If you thought I would be writing to you on Election Day to encourage you to get out there and vote, well, you were right. In fact, if you haven’t yet been to the polls, stop reading, get in the car, and head there now. I’ll wait…... You’re back! Great,... Read more

Team USA

October 10, 2014 Two weeks ago, we saw the introduction of the insurance world’s regulatory equivalent to “Team USA.” It is a team approach to insurance policy and regulation with a clear mission: to responsibly influence appropriate U.S. international regulatory collab... Read more

HUD Litigation Update

September 16, 2014 We’ve been keeping you updated on our ongoing challenge to a regulation from the Department of Housing and Urban Development that would impose a disparate impact standard on the pricing and provision of homeowners insurance – and in doing so open the fl... Read more

Join the Effort to Reauthorize TRIA

August 7, 2014 We’ve said from the beginning that getting TRIA reauthorized would be a long and difficult journey. Knowing that, I would say we can pause for a moment and appreciate the excellent progress we have already made. No one has been more engaged in helping s... Read more

Productivity in Washington??

July 23, 2014 I recently shared my views on the potential impacts of ongoing developments at the international level on the future of insurance regulation in the United States. It can be tempting to simply ignore the alphabet soup of different groups seeking in vario... Read more

Oral Arguments Set for HUD Litigation

June 25, 2014 July 16 will be an important day not only for NAMIC but for the entire property/casualty insurance industry. That is the day on which U.S. Federal Judge Richard J. Leon will hear oral arguments on NAMIC’s lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Housing a... Read more

International Capital Standards: A Bad Idea

May 6, 2014 (Apologies for the length, complexity and new acronyms, but you need to read this …) We are part of a heavily regulated industry. As a result, we spend significant time and resources ensuring a well-reasoned and effective insurance regulatory environmen... Read more

A Matter of Standards

April 17, 2014 Sarbanes-Oxley. McCarran-Ferguson. Climate Change Disclosure Survey. These are just a few of the metaphorical battlefields on which NAMIC – sometimes single-handedly – has taken on powerful foes on behalf of member companies and the policyholders they s... Read more

Progress Amid Politics on Tap for 2014 in Washington

February 12, 2014 As in state advocacy, NAMIC takes its cues for its federal agenda from a member-driven committee. Federal Affairs Committee members recently completed their planning session and have identified for NAMIC action a number of important issues facing our in... Read more

‘State’ of Play

January 30, 2014 As state legislatures across the country reconvene and wrap up the unfinished business of 2013, NAMIC’s state affairs directors have shifted into high gear. To make sure we’re ready for whatever issues will face member companies in the 50 state capitals... Read more

On the FIO Report

January 23, 2014 In the weeks since the Federal Insurance Office released its report on insurance regulatory reform and modernization, we’ve had the opportunity to sort through its recommendations. To help our member companies better understand the potential implication... Read more

Conversation Starter: FIO Unveils Its Report

December 12, 2013 After two years of waiting and seemingly endless guessing games, the Federal Insurance Office released its report today outlining the Obama administration’s recommendations to improve and modernize the insurance regulatory system. As you read this, the ... Read more

A Solution in Search of a Problem

November 18, 2013 “Many members, one voice.” We have been blessed with example after example of NAMIC’s membership blending their opinions and convictions into one strong, undeterred expression – one “voice” – about the issues that affect our industry and our policyholde... Read more

Next Up on Disparate Impact

November 14, 2013 As you may have heard, the Township of Mt. Holly voted last night to approve a settlement with residents disputing a planned redevelopment in the community, ending a decade-long legal battle just 21 days before arguments were scheduled to take place bef... Read more

An ounce of prevention, IBHS, and Congress

November 12, 2013 Benjamin Franklin, founder of America’s first successful mutual insurance company a full generation before he helped found our nation, is known for many famous quotes. For those of us in the insurance business, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound o... Read more

Pending Disparate Impact Case Likely To Settle; NAMIC Lawsuit Ready to Move Forward

November 1, 2013 As you are aware, in June NAMIC and the American Insurance Association filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that challenges the validity of a recently promulgated HUD rule regarding the disparate impact theory of ... Read more

Flood Insurance Reform Politics an Example of How Washington Works

October 25, 2013 Amid the circus-like atmosphere surrounding the government shutdown and the debate over the debt limit – and, whatever your politics, I think we can agree that there was plenty of blame to go around and little responsibility on display – the property/ca... Read more

The Worst Form of Government…

October 1, 2013 By now you know: the federal government has shut down. We are at this place because our political leaders failed to accomplish what you do as a business leader every day – make the tough and sometimes unpopular decisions that can’t be avoided. You will ... Read more

HUD Update: NAMIC, AIA Challenge Waits as Industry Files Amicus Brief in Mt. Holly Case

September 9, 2013 As we prepare to meet in Seattle in two weeks, I wanted to give you a brief update on our efforts to prevent homeowners insurers from being subjected to the disparate impact standard by the federal government and the ensuing wave of litigation it will b... Read more

NAMIC / Industry Group Files HUD Legal Challenge

June 27, 2013 NAMIC and the American Insurance Association filed a lawsuit yesterday in federal court against the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, challenging the agency’s authority to use “disparate impact” analysis to prove allegations of unlawful ... Read more

Responsive (and Responsible) Advocacy Communication

May 28, 2013 Responsiveness is about listening – and it starts with “when you speak, we listen.” Then comes the action – our responsibility to act on what you tell us. Many of you recently participated in a survey that sought your opinions and preferences on NAMIC’s... Read more

When Preparation Becomes as Important as Recovery

May 21, 2013 With fresh devastation and dozens of lives lost from horrific tornadoes in Oklahoma, and hurricane season beginning a week from Saturday, it’s a good time to ask the question: Are we prepared? Preparation, as folks in our industry know, is the best mean... Read more

The Truth on TRIA

May 14, 2013 Our old friend Bob Hunter and the Consumer Federation of America decided to weigh in on the debate over TRIA reauthorization last week. It’s not a surprise that CFA called for Congress to end the program, but I have to say it’s almost impressive how the... Read more

The ‘Wisdom’ of the NAIC

May 7, 2013 Many of you may remember that at the very beginning of this year , the Consumer Federation of America released its self-described “study” on the affordability and availability of auto insurance for low-income drivers. This was a follow-up report to one ... Read more

The Heavy Toll of Mother Nature’s Million-Dollar Babies

April 29, 2013 Ahhh, how many columns have I penned about that fickle Mother Nature? Tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, tsunamis, sinkholes, floods, snow. With each passing season, we are forced to endure one calamity or another. This spring that calamity ... Read more

A Sad Reminder on Terrorism

April 23, 2013 The last week has been a difficult one, encompassing the tragic explosion in Texas that took the lives of more than a dozen people – many of them very brave first responders – and injured hundreds; and the heartbreaking scenes we saw of the bombing duri... Read more

The High Price We All Pay

April 16, 2013 Seven Detroit firefighters were seriously injured recently when an office building engulfed in a gasoline-fueled fire collapsed on them. One was paralyzed and several had crushed bones. The man who set the fire did so for a very “simple” reason: the ins... Read more

Avoiding the Hammer

April 9, 2013 The Financial Stability Oversight Council is one step closer to determining which nonbank financial companies could put the economy at risk and which should be subject to heightened regulation at the federal level. The Board of Governors at the Federal ... Read more

Guessing Game Begins in Senate Committee

April 2, 2013 You may have seen last week that Sen. Tim Johnson, a Democrat from South Dakota and chairman of the powerful Senate Banking Committee, announced that he wouldn’t run for re-election in 2014. His decision will bring to an end a career in public service t... Read more

Heating Up in Florida

March 26, 2013 It’s hard to imagine that we are a week into spring and much of the country is still feeling the sting of winter-like weather… that is, except in Florida. As some states get smacked (again) with several inches of snow, Florida basks in temperatures risi... Read more

Face Time

March 19, 2013 Globalization has been a part of our lives for decades, but whether you see it as a positive or negative development, one thing we must admit is that it has opened up the lines of communication, bringing the world’s people closer together. Skype, Facebo... Read more

The FIO Guessing Game

March 12, 2013 You may have seen some news lately speculating that the confirmation of Jacob Lew as secretary of the Treasury could lead to more action from the department, including the release of the Federal Insurance Office’s report on insurance regulation. It’s a ... Read more

Extending TRIA With ‘Mikey Suits’

March 5, 2013 As you know, extending the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, and the public/private partnership it created to foster commercial lending and development, is among our top priorities in Washington, D.C. We’re off to a quick start on this issue, working with R... Read more

NAMIC Continues to Lead Efforts to Stop HUD’s ‘Disparate Impact’ Rule

February 26, 2013 The Department of Housing and Urban Development made it official recently: its new rule establishing the “disparate impact” standard for homeowners insurance will take effect in just under three weeks – on March 18. That date will mark the end of a long... Read more

One Family’s Story, One Industry’s Generosity

February 19, 2013 Many of you know about my son Joey’s battle against cancer, and most of you know that it is why I shave my head every year for St. Baldrick’s – to raise money for children’s cancer research. But there’s a great insurance connection to this story as well... Read more

One Family’s Story, One Industry’s Generosity

February 19, 2013 Many of you know about my son Joey’s battle against cancer, and most of you know that it is why I shave my head every year for St. Baldrick’s – to raise money for children’s cancer research. But there’s a great insurance connection to this story as well... Read more

Legislators Should Draw This Model to Scale

February 12, 2013 It’s not exciting. It has no sizzle. And it certainly isn’t “sexy.” In fact, it barely registers on the “interesting gauge.” But it is important. It is the new version of the Model Holding Company Act that comes to us from the folks at the National Asso... Read more

Insurers Get the Job Done (Again)

February 5, 2013 In the days immediately following Hurricane Sandy (yes, hurricane) a host of politicians took to the soapbox to warn insurance companies they would be closely watched in their dealings with policyholders. And like knights on white horses the politicians... Read more

Teaching TRIA

January 29, 2013 We have almost two years until the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act expires at the end of 2014, and it’s actually less than one year before commercial insurance policies must begin to reflect the potential expiration of the program. So, having seen the brin... Read more

West Side Story: Old Foes Ready to Rumble in California, Oregon

January 22, 2013 The smoke has finally cleared from the explosive November elections, and many state legislatures around the country are opening their doors for the 2013 law-making season. It took some time, but we finally know exactly what we are dealing with … nearly ... Read more

The Good We Do

January 15, 2013 I don’t think I say often enough just how proud I am to be part of such an invaluable industry. To know that we are there in times of need, whether after a fender bender or a devastating tornado, to help people get back what they once had is ever so gra... Read more

Never a Bad Time for a Good Idea

January 8, 2013 There’s an old saying that if it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would ever get done. On Capitol Hill, it seems like these are words to live by. We’ve just seen a rush of last-minute legislating from our senators and representatives in Washington a... Read more

A Little Last Minute Shopping

December 18, 2012 As Congress looks to finish all those things put off until after the elections during this holiday season, NAMIC is working to put some last-minute presents under the tree as well. No fewer than three of our legislative priorities could be included in d... Read more

Risk, Uncertainty and Profit

December 4, 2012 Last week I spoke at the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Insurance Summit in Orlando to a roomful of insurance industry representatives, regulators, legislators, and policymakers. In my keynote address – “Florida in the National Picture” – I spoke ... Read more

A Learning Experience

November 20, 2012 “Insurance executives: Are you ready for Solvency II?” asks a prominent consulting firm on its website. Though framed as a question, it’s really more of an exhortation, one heard repeatedly from the army of consultants hoping to trade on insurers’ anxie... Read more

It’s Here ….

November 6, 2012 If you haven’t already, make sure to go vote today. More than any other message I can offer here, I hope that you will exercise your right to have a say in who represents us in Washington or in your state capital. Any presidential election is a big deal... Read more

Because….

October 23, 2012 We’ve spent more than two years struggling with Dodd-Frank implementation now, working to ensure that the agencies it created stay within their intended roles and preventing them from imposing needless and onerous regulation. We’ve made the arguments, s... Read more

Getting an Early Start on 2013

October 9, 2012 If you’ve been watching Congress the past year or so, you know that lawmakers have spent much of their time putting off issues until after the election. Anything of consequence, any big decision that carries political risk, has been pushed back until af... Read more

Sharing a Purpose

September 25, 2012 Mutual insurers have been gathering annually as NAMIC members for more than a century – making new friendships and strengthening old ones, getting education about the insurance business, governance, and operations, learning about the emerging trends in ... Read more

Advantage: Mutuals

September 11, 2012 There are many different surveys that make the ‘rounds each year gauging how we – the property/casualty insurance industry – fare in key performance areas. Some that come to mind include J.D. Power and Associates (an annual “how-did-we-do-last-year poll... Read more

ORSA: An Opportunity?

August 28, 2012 By now you’ve read about the pending new Own Risk and Solvency Assessment making its way through the NAIC process. This new filing – for companies above $500 million in DWP – is a departure from the traditional box-checking, number-crunching approach to... Read more

Over There

August 14, 2012 Often for the property/casualty insurance industry it seems like keeping Washington, D.C., from intruding into insurance regulation is enough of a job. But that alone isn’t enough anymore. As strange as it sounds, the world getting smaller and smaller m... Read more

An Indirect Approach

July 31, 2012 As it passes its second “anniversary,” the Dodd-Frank Act continues to loom over our industry. Its implementation, involving several new agencies, a multitude of new powers for existing agencies, and hundreds of new rules and regulations, is the number ... Read more

Preparation, Patience, & Persistence

July 17, 2012 We should all celebrate the recent passage of the five-year reauthorization and fiscal reform of the National Flood Insurance Program – it was a big legislative win for NAMIC, the property/casualty insurance industry, and the country in general. It was ... Read more

Crossing the Goal Line

July 3, 2012 We’re months from football season, but you may want to take a few minutes today to think about your favorite touchdown celebration. Spiking the ball? A classic end-zone dance? Or perhaps the more recent “Tebowing”? Our Wisconsin members may want to go w... Read more

Research 101

June 26, 2012 The Consumer Federation of America has been quite busy this year cranking out research project after research project. But “research” is a term I am using loosely. Earlier this year, the CFA’s top staff, which includes Bob Hunter, former Texas insurance... Read more

No Such Thing as Too Much Information

June 19, 2012 As I approach the 50th anniversary of my birth this year, I find myself bouncing between the feeling that I have enough information on most issues to make business decisions and the feeling that I can never learn enough and will run out of time before I... Read more

When ‘Enough’ Isn’t Enough

June 12, 2012 Dzień dobry, moje prieneti! That’s Polish for “Good day, my friends!” Sandy Parrillo, NAMIC’s former chairman, and I have just returned from Gdansk, Poland, where the third biennial Congress of the Association of Mutual Insurers and Insurance Cooperativ... Read more

The PARTS Act and Success of a Competitive Marketplace

June 5, 2012 Sometimes our work in Washington can seem like, as the great Yogi once said, “déjà vu all over again.” It appears every time a new member of Congress is elected, we find ourselves once again going through the same debates – explaining McCarran-Ferguson;... Read more

2012 Legislative Winners: Mutuals & Consumers

May 29, 2012 Every election season we ask ourselves the same question, “Will they or won’t they?” Will members of Congress and state legislatures embark on a torrent of self-serving political activity by introducing or supporting legislation simply to pander to vote... Read more

Enthusiastic Support

May 22, 2012 If you are following the elections this year, you hear a lot about enthusiasm and intensity, as both positive and negative voter intensity can be key indicators of voter turnout. As for enthusiasm, a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found 93 percent... Read more

The Challenge of Catastrophe Insurance Education, Part II

May 15, 2012 In my column a few weeks ago I bemoaned the challenges of working with those who believe they understand the world of property insurance … but don’t. We have another situation unfolding in North Carolina’s homeowners’ insurance market that exhibits thes... Read more

It’s What the ‘M’ Stands For...

May 8, 2012 Every so often, someone I meet will ask me what a mutual insurance company is, usually after asking me what I do for a living. It’s asked just as small talk, but I try to give a more thoughtful response. That’s because our focus on mutuality is what mak... Read more

Breaking The Dam

May 1, 2012 Chuck Chamness, As we come up on yet another expiration date for the National Flood Insurance Program, reforms that would fix the program and ease the potential burdens on taxpayers have hit a wall in the Senate. It’s an unusual wall, the sort that you’... Read more

Regulators Without Borders: Cooperation in the Global Marketplace

April 24, 2012 We live in an increasingly international world. The Oscar for Best Picture went to a French film. All of our major sports leagues now play regular season games overseas, and European soccer clubs routinely sell out American stadiums on barnstorming tour... Read more

The Challenge of Catastrophe Insurance Education

April 17, 2012 USA Today published an article a few weeks ago about a report released by a private research and consulting firm that found Tornado Alley – Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota – needs to be expanded to include most of the Midwest and the... Read more

The Importance of Being Unimportant

April 10, 2012 So now we know what it means to be “systemically important.” More importantly we know that, for now at least, it’s unlikely that a traditional property/casualty insurance company would be labeled as a “systemically important financial institution” or a ... Read more

Against the Narrative

April 3, 2012 With the long march of the Republican primary seemingly coming to an end with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as the last man standing and the summer’s Battle Royale with the president set to begin, we’re due for another wave of stories of how Rom... Read more

Spring Blooms a Different Species in D.C.

March 27, 2012 Threats of a repeal of the McCarran-Ferguson limited antitrust exemptions for insurance companies arise in Washington, D.C., with what seems like the same perennial regularity as the springtime blooming of the cherry blossom trees. If you have been foll... Read more

PIP Gets a Makeover

March 20, 2012 The personal injury protection system in Florida is diseased with fraud and abuse. First-term Gov. Rick Scott wanted to kill PIP, calling it a “$900 million tax on Floridians.” And why wouldn’t he? In a December report released by the Florida’s Office o... Read more

A Look Backward … and Forward

March 13, 2012 For all of you who have been part of your company’s annual report process, you know it is no easy task. So much information, so little space. While the project can be overwhelming, it is in fact a good exercise. It reminds us of all the many accomplishm... Read more

Holding Back HUD: A New Threat to Underwriting

March 6, 2012 The position of NAMIC and its members is clear – we do not condone unfair discrimination in any aspect of our business, and we support all of the regulatory provisions that appropriately define and enforce this critically important goal. With respect to... Read more

Conquering Cancer Together

February 28, 2012 It hardly seems possible that seven years have passed since our son Joey was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma, a bone cancer. I had been NAMIC president just a year and a half. He was only 8 years old – too young to understand exactly what was going on... Read more

One Step Forward, Three Steps Back

February 21, 2012 Earlier this month, the heads of three state insurance departments – California, New York, and Washington – decided to thumb their noses at their own national association. The three regulators announced that they would require any company admitted to do... Read more

The Long and Winding Road

February 14, 2012 I’m starting off this year’s Congressional Contact Program season with a bang this year – a one-day tour of Capitol Hill offices and a press conference with two senators calling for a vote on flood insurance reform legislation. It’s not the normal CCP v... Read more

Vital Information in Your Inbox

February 7, 2012 Those of us in the property/casualty insurance industry know all too well how much of the U.S. economy is subject to extensive and continuously developing government rules and regulations – often including federal and state regulations applying at the s... Read more

If It Seems Too Good to be True….

January 31, 2012 Third-party litigation funding is an arrangement in which an outside “funder” offers to provide money to a party – generally the plaintiff – to pursue a filed lawsuit in return for a share of any damages award or settlement. The funds to individuals are... Read more

Little Miss Magic

January 24, 2012 I remember holding our baby girl 17 years ago and singing the Jimmy Buffett song “Little Miss Magic,” which includes the following chorus: “I catch a little more dialogue comin my way, I see those big brown eyes just start to lookin astray, Your mother’... Read more

In the Big Debate, Remembering the Small Stuff

January 17, 2012 As the old saying goes, there are two certainties in life: death and taxes. This year in Washington, Congress is going to be talking taxes to death. It’s been more than 25 years since Congress last enacted major tax reforms, and since then Washington ha... Read more

A New Year Miracle

January 10, 2012 I can’t believe we are nearly two weeks into 2012, and there has been no weather catastrophe … it is a New Year miracle. It was a tough year of natural disasters last year here in the U.S. and across the globe. From the gut-wrenching earthquake and tsun... Read more

The Big Mistake

December 6, 2011 As an industry, we’ve been debating the issue of federal insurance regulation for years. There’s been a lull in the discussion as large financial firms have been licking their wounds post-Dodd Frank – the most prescient of them reconsidering their suppo... Read more

Head Them Off!

November 22, 2011 The other day I saw an ad for the classic Clint Eastwood movie “The Outlaw Josey Wales.” It’s one of my favorites and was named one of Time magazine’s Top 10 best films for the year 1976. As I thought about the movie, I was reminded of a scene that exem... Read more

A Miracle in Michigan?

November 8, 2011 Sometimes miracles do happen. Whether they are large or small, we must remember that there is no such thing as a miracle that is insignificant, particularly when it involves elected officials and an issue as controversial as, let’s say, no-fault auto in... Read more

In the Game – The 2012 Elections

October 25, 2011 Politically speaking, it has been quite a year. And next year promises to be a doozie. Not only will the presidential race be exciting (no matter the eventual GOP nominee), but the races for every seat in the House and one-third of the Senate are also s... Read more

Partisanship

October 11, 2011 Most of you know that the Chamness household is split politically. I’m to the right of the middle and Briget is to the left. And we were at it long before the “Carville-Matalin” partnership. I know I cannot bring home a half-formed argument about public... Read more

Convention Connection

September 27, 2011 What an energizing time it was last week at our annual convention in Indianapolis … interacting with all of you – drawing from your vitality, knowledge, and talent! When NAMIC members gather together – at convention, during a Congressional Contact Progr... Read more

Terrorism Risks

September 13, 2011 This past Sunday marked 10 years since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. I was in the office that day. NAMIC’s then-president Larry Forrester was at a meeting of the Wisconsin Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, where I was yesterday. ... Read more

Goodnight Irene

August 30, 2011 After relatively calm weather the past couple of months, things have a way of changing rather quickly. The little blip on the radar screen spotted last week in the Caribbean soon became a major problem. That blip turned into the first-of-the-season hurr... Read more

Sweet Home Alabama

August 16, 2011 When Robert Bentley ran for governor of Alabama last year, his campaign was founded on several promises: forgoing a salary until the state’s unemployment rate dropped to “normal”; using tax breaks to create jobs; and promising to call a special session ... Read more

One Year Later – The Heavy Hand of Government is Closer

August 2, 2011 It hasn’t yet been a year since I wrote the column “Be Careful What You Wish For.” As you may recall the column was about lessons on federal regulation stemming from former-Insurance-Commissioner-turned-HHS-Secretary Kathleen Sebelius threatening federa... Read more

The Year of Dodd-Frank

July 19, 2011 Thursday, July 21, 2011, marks the one-year anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act being signed into law. As we blow out the candle on this massive piece of legislation’s first birthday, let’s take the opportunity t... Read more

NAIC, Insurance Regulation & Corporate Governance

July 5, 2011 It hasn’t been all that long ago since I used this space to talk about the NAIC’s “White Paper on High-Level Corporate Governance Principles for Use in U.S. Insurance Regulation.” For those who may have missed the original column , it focused on the NAI... Read more

Of Trolls and Trial Lawyers

June 28, 2011 It is a sad fact of life that there will always be people who will abuse the system, inevitably to the detriment of others who are playing by the rules. And inevitably these bad actors will continue their behavior if no one puts a stop to it. In fact, t... Read more

Getting Prepared

June 21, 2011 Joplin, Missouri. Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Springfield, Massachusetts. In the last several months we have seen devastating weather all over the country. No region is immune from the power of Mother Nature. Short of learning to control the weather, how can w... Read more

The RMS 11.0 Effect

June 14, 2011 So far this year, the U.S. has suffered through eight catastrophic weather events in 2011, each resulting in billion-dollar-plus damage. Many companies I’ve talked with seem to be having the same experience as the U.S. reinsurance market – catastrophe l... Read more

CBIS on Trial … Again

June 7, 2011 To many in state legislatures, courts, media, and (all) opponents, credit-based insurance scoring is considered a subject that connotes controversy; however, in reality, CBIS as an issue is a “nontroversy,” a term coined years ago to mean an event seen ... Read more

A Season of Storms, Scammers, and Legislation

May 31, 2011 The harsh winter of 2011 was one we won’t forget anytime soon. As we headed into March, I know we all thought, “Thank goodness … on to warmer, brighter weather.” But as winter melted into spring, the onslaught of ferocious tornadoes – historic in so man... Read more

Too Big to Fail

May 24, 2011 Last night I watched HBO’s new film “Too Big to Fail,” an account of the financial crisis circa October 2008 and the government’s attempt to prevent a total financial meltdown. The movie was both entertaining and largely accurate, which it should be as ... Read more

Another Important, Technical, and Potentially Lonely Battle Looms

May 17, 2011 Let me be the first to admit that nothing about the European Commission’s Solvency II directive is particularly “sexy,” but it is an issue that continues to grow in importance and concern to U.S. insurers. Indeed, the question of how U.S. regulators and... Read more

E Pluribus Unum

May 10, 2011 Washington, D.C., can be a hectic place. I don’t need to remind you the speed at which all manner of public policies can come flying off of Capitol Hill. Navigating this hazardous legislative environment can be a daunting task, which is why one of the c... Read more

Back to Indiana … Welcome Home

May 3, 2011 Indiana is home to several noteworthy institutions, including, of course, the world-famous Indianapolis 500 race and your own National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies. At the end of this month the Greatest Spectacle in Racing will celebrate it... Read more

Embracing Competition

April 26, 2011 We are a competitive nation. I think this has a lot to do with why a belief in American exceptionalism is such a prominent part of our national character. We see value in effort and believe that everyone should have the opportunity to succeed through ha... Read more

Repeal or Reform? The Answer Might be ‘Yes’

April 19, 2011 Most of you have had the experience of either buying a car or some other complex piece of machinery that, not long after you got it home, you realized wasn’t working quite right. As weeks went by, either you or the repair shop would be forced to tinker ... Read more

Momentum Building for Rate Modernization

April 12, 2011 Reforming state regulation is NAMIC’s highest priority, with rate modernization as its centerpiece. While momentum for rate reform had slowed in the aftermath of the financial crisis, the November elections brought renewed interest from policymakers. We... Read more

Basketball Advocacy

April 5, 2011 Sitting here last year I never would have believed I would be writing about Butler University’s back-to-back appearance at the “Big Dance.” I live within earshot of the Bulldogs’ home of Hinkle Fieldhouse, affectionately known as the “Dawg House.” The l... Read more

The Unraveling of a Mess

March 29, 2011 Come on. You know with that headline I could only be referring to … the broken property insurance system in Florida. It is maddening to read articles like the one published in the Sarasota Herald Tribune in December that described the Florida insurance ... Read more

The Tragedy of a Tragedy

March 22, 2011 Like me, you have no doubt been following the news reporting on the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that recently hit Japan. If the natural events were not disastrous enough, the potential for a nuclear catastrophe threatens to escalate the dama... Read more

Until a Cure is Found

March 15, 2011 We have all seen the faces and know the names. Jerry Lewis. Lance Armstrong. Bono. The list of celebrity do-gooders is immense. Yet, there are so many more not-so-familiar faces – people who jump in to help when the need presents itself. And whether it ... Read more

Chairman Parrillo Goes to Washington

March 8, 2011 In this space several weeks ago, I wrote that the House Financial Services Committee planned to have a frank and open dialogue this year about the future of the National Flood Insurance Program. I believe we are all aware that this needs to happen. Unfo... Read more

Daylight Breaking Through the Clouds

March 1, 2011 We are not three months into the new legislative year in the states, and already several new governors have suddenly found themselves in the middle of some high-profile, volatile situations. Of course, we all know what’s going on in Wisconsin between th... Read more

Different Day; Same AG?

February 22, 2011 You may have caught the news last month about a legal settlement involving Connecticut’s new attorney general, George Jepsen, and reinsurance broker Guy Carpenter. The settlement addressed alleged antitrust violations stemming from a case brought by the... Read more

NFIP: Necessary, But Not (Yet) Properly Structured

February 15, 2011 We all remember how the 111th Congress handled the issue of reforming the National Flood Insurance Program. Or didn’t handle it, as it were. There were countless short-term extensions of the program creating a time-consuming situation that on more than ... Read more

Tort Reform on the Horizon

February 8, 2011 The impact of the 2010 midterm elections continues to bear fruit for the property/casualty insurance industry; proving once again that electing candidates with sound business/economic viewpoints is better than trying to convince them once in office. Mos... Read more

We’ve Passed It, Now We’re Finding Out What’s In It

February 1, 2011 Perhaps the most memorable moment of the entire debate over healthcare reform last year was when then-speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., uttered the sentence, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.... Read more

Not So Easy Money

January 25, 2011 While the country at large is slowly rebounding from the economic collapse of 2008, states and municipalities, unfortunately, are not. According to some reports, this year is expected to be the most challenging for legislatures in pulling together their... Read more

The Good Fight

January 18, 2011 We’re an industry that exists to help people recover – to fight back from devastating loss. Perhaps this is why so many big-hearted individuals work in the property/casualty insurance industry. In 2000, three insurance execs in New York City decided to ... Read more

Holiday Reading 2010

December 20, 2010 Readers of Advocacy Update are already familiar with the many federal, state, and regulatory battles fought – and largely won – by NAMIC and members this year. So let’s end the year on a lighter note after dealing with the repercussions of the financial... Read more

Friends in High Places

December 7, 2010 Although still battling over a few remaining issues in the lame-duck session, the life of the 111th Congress is almost over. Given the level of activity we saw from Washington in the last two years, I am sure there are many of us breathing a collective ... Read more

In Thanksgiving for...

November 23, 2010 10. Our State Association Partners. NAMIC’s collaborative nature enjoys and appreciates the value of both the mutual state trade associations that are so important to our membership and our state trade advocacy partners that work with us in state capito... Read more

Ridin’ the Wave

November 9, 2010 For those of us who consider ourselves political junkies, this last week has been nothing if not exciting. By now, I am sure you are all aware of the fact that, with 11 races yet to be called, the GOP is projected to win control of the U.S. House of Rep... Read more

Florida’s Frankenstein

October 26, 2010 As Halloween approaches, I thought it would be a good time to update you on the latest chapter in the life of Florida’s Frankenstein monster, Citizens Insurance. Once upon a time – rather than let free enterprise and open competition provide a solution ... Read more

Building For Our Future

October 12, 2010 Hollywood is constantly building large structures and then destroying them for visual effects in movies. While I love a good action flick, I have sometimes wondered if there wasn’t a more productive purpose to which we could put those doomed buildings. ... Read more

The Familiar Road Ahead

September 28, 2010 What an exceptional week we had in San Diego at our 115th Annual Convention! Nearly 1,900 NAMIC members and industry leaders attended from the United States and 11 other countries… our highest registration number since 1999. I am fortunate to have atten... Read more

The Key to Success

September 14, 2010 While this shaky economy has led businesses to cut everything from employees to special projects in a valiant attempt to stay alive, it is still the customer who holds the key to a company’s success. Unfortunately, consumer confidence continues to hover... Read more

Primary Colors

August 31, 2010 This primary season has been something to watch. Incumbents are being knocked out of their races early; pundits are baffled; and professional prognosticators continue to be surprised. Really though, the excitement has come not from the actual number of ... Read more

Be Careful What You Wish For

August 17, 2010 There’s an old insurance joke about federal regulation that involves being careful about wishing for a federal insurance regulator because you may not like it much if Bob Hunter becomes the head of the new federal agency. We may have a hint of that phen... Read more

How Does It Feel?

August 3, 2010 Anyone who enjoys old movies – no, not movies of the 1980s; I mean old movies – knows that Hollywood may have been at its best in the late ‘30s and ‘40s. Call me sappy, but “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946) still gets my vote as one of the best films of al... Read more

Built to Last

July 27, 2010 It is apparent that it doesn’t really matter that the Obama administration reported somewhat positive news recently about its economic policies. “Worried” is how Americans describe their mood, as polls continue to show that we are increasingly stressed ... Read more

Ready, Set, Implement

July 20, 2010 Last week the Senate passed the final version of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform bill, preparing the way for the president to sign it into law this week. Over the course of the last 22 months, NAMIC has been participating in the legislative debate tha... Read more

Never Too Soon to Start

July 6, 2010 Given the current fiscal situation in this country, if someone were to tell me that the Obama administration was looking for federal programs to cut I would say that was a good thing. Surely we could find any number of wasteful programs to put under the... Read more

Remember Where You Come From

June 22, 2010 Where we come from has a lot of influence on who we are. Worldviews tend to be portable – the way we interpret events, analyze situations, and process information anywhere we are is colored by where we come from. Having grown up in the Midwest, I rememb... Read more

Psst … Hey Buddy, Need a Loan?

June 15, 2010 Are You Involved in a Lawsuit? Need Cash Now? GET CASH NOW Before Your Lawsuit Settles … and Owe Us Nothing If You Lose! In many states, there are companies whose business model is built on luring unsuspecting plaintiffs pursuing a claim for personal in... Read more

Shocker!

June 8, 2010 Yes, I’m being facetious. Did any of us really think Florida Gov. Charlie Crist would sign the Omnibus Property Insurance bill that had been lying on his desk for a few weeks? Did any of us really think the governor had finally seen the light of the imp... Read more

Belonging

June 1, 2010 As mutual insurers we belong to a unique and interconnected world culture. In nearly every country around the globe, there are mutual insurance companies providing a safety net for their policyholders in times of trouble. We promise to conduct business ... Read more

Stay in Your Own Backyard

May 25, 2010 What is it about insurance that everyone thinks he or she is an expert? The troubling trend of attorneys general encroaching on the turf of insurance commissioners continues. In fact, it’s becoming more of a common occurrence. As more AGs break the peri... Read more

Hope Is Not a Strategy

May 18, 2010 What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “lobbyist”? If you are like many Americans, pejorative adjectives like “corrupt” or “unscrupulous” come to mind too easily. Americans don’t understand lobbying, and the only example of a lobbyis... Read more

A Panacea

May 11, 2010 Things seem to be looking up, but we’re still suffering through this long, tough economic time. Every segment of our society, be it government, businesses, or citizens, is trying desperately to balance its budget. Cost of living is rising, but wages (or... Read more

In the Weeds

May 4, 2010 Last week, after the GOP gave up on its efforts to block consideration of the bill, the Senate voted to begin the debate on the “Wall Street Reform Act.” As you know, I have written about this issue in this space many times in the last year and a half a... Read more

A Break in Florida's Insurance Market Cloud

April 30, 2010 The political tenor is finally changing in Florida, at least when the issues are natural catastrophes (read: “hurricanes”), the private property/casualty insurance market, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. (Citizens), and the financial well-being of its... Read more

The NAMIC Advantage … YOU

April 20, 2010 When we’re asked to highlight what makes NAMIC different, we sometimes refer to the “NAMIC Advantage.” By this we mean the way the myriad pieces of our advocacy infrastructure work together to produce real results. The most crucial piece of this puzzle ... Read more

Policymaking From the Fringe

April 13, 2010 Another group of zealous commissioners are raising the flag for their cause, and all indications point toward their pushing forward with their campaign regardless of the evidence proving that it’s not such a good idea. The NAIC has been for some time tr... Read more

The Butler Way … Our Way

April 6, 2010 Call it talent drain. Talent gap. Even brain drain. For the property/casualty insurance industry, call it a major challenge. We are already two years into the riptide of Baby Boomer retirement, and making matters more complicated is the number of insura... Read more

The Three Phases of Leadership

March 30, 2010 In the past few years, we have talked a lot about the importance of our industry having critical leadership in critical times. Without it, we run the risk of seeing the businesses that generations of mutual insurance leaders have worked so hard to creat... Read more

CEO Support Paired With Support for Kid’s Cancer Research

March 23, 2010 Because you’re at the top, everyone comes to you looking for answers about the company, the industry, and the environments in which you operate. And that can sometimes be a difficult position. Luckily, NAMIC member-company CEOs have a forum to share the... Read more

The Knee-Jerk Response

March 16, 2010 Unfortunately, I am beginning to believe that for some politicians, it is a knee-jerk response to attack the insurance industry. Let’s be honest, it makes for a tempting political target. The narrative practically writes itself: politician as noble warr... Read more

The Importance of Being … Ready

March 9, 2010 The rash of natural disasters seems worse than usual. In the past few weeks, we have seen unprecedented amounts of snow fall in the northeast, catastrophic earthquakes in the Caribbean and South America. And tsunamis that fortunately did not do much dam... Read more

Task Force to Tackle International Accounting Push

March 2, 2010 We have seen countless times how the world continues to grow smaller – for good or bad. When devastation hits, the world comes together providing help, as what we saw and continue to see after the Haiti earthquake, and perhaps we’ll see again after the ... Read more

Shots on Goal

February 23, 2010 I think I know how USA hockey goalie Ryan Miller felt as he faced 45 shots on goal against Team Canada Sunday night. Miller stopped all but three of them, and the U.S. team pulled out a victory over a more experienced and favored Canadian team playing o... Read more

Very Special Bald Heads!

February 16, 2010 As many of you know, in 2005 our then-8-year-old son Joey was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma, a bone cancer in his left femur. We are extremely thankful and gratified to report that next month Joey will reach the magic five-year mark making him stati... Read more

Déjà Vu All Over Again*

February 9, 2010 The legislative season has just begun, and, as of this writing, no less than 27 bills have been introduced in 16 states to ban, change, or severely restrict the use of credit-based insurance scoring. Now, combine that with the carryover from last sessio... Read more

When Bad Things Happen...

February 2, 2010 We all remember where we were when really bad things happened. Terrorist attacks. Katrina. Now Haiti. It seems the world picks up the pieces then is hit again by another mega catastrophe so monumental that it defies human comprehension. Three weeks ago ... Read more

Because I Said So

January 26, 2010 Remember when your mother told you to do something, but when you asked why, she replied autocratically, “Because I said so.” This is the situation some of our members find themselves in today with the new NAIC climate risk disclosure survey. Those with ... Read more

Taking Responsibility

January 19, 2010 There is something about hearing those in Washington speak about “financial responsibility” that makes me chuckle. But there is nothing funny about the latest plan from the Obama administration to create a “Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee,” especial... Read more

The Politics of 'Change'

January 12, 2010 One year ago the political pundits were pronouncing the Republican Party dead. In fact, they reported that with the 2008 election outcomes – electing our first African-American president and new, huge Democratic majorities in Congress – that it might ta... Read more

Better Than Carnac

January 5, 2010 It’s a new year. 2009 is behind us. The financial crisis seems a distant memory. The recession has come and gone, as modest increases in economic activity continue. And, our industry remains in a soft market. But in the policy world where NAMIC lives, o... Read more

Taking Stock

December 15, 2009 A crisis is a terrible thing to waste. So said the White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel during the outbreak of the recent financial crisis. When I heard him utter those words I could only think one thing: brace yourself for massive overreach and over... Read more

Charlie Crist, Stuart Smalley, and Marco Rubio

December 1, 2009 Nearly 20 years ago, comedian Al Franken (now Senator Franken) entertained us on Saturday Night Live as Stuart Smalley and his Daily Affirmation – “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and, dog-gone it, people like me.” I’m sure that personal declarations... Read more

Cooks in the Kitchen

November 17, 2009 Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year. As it approaches, I am reminded of that old adage about too many cooks in the kitchen – it usually leads to chaos. In the Washington kitchen – where, as you know, the main meal prepared is sausage... Read more

Joe and the SAMsationals

November 3, 2009 We’ve got heroes in the NAMIC family. Members who heed our call to action by contacting their elected officials about a critical issue or who get involved through the Congressional Contact Program or NAMIC PAC. And those who give their time, talents, an... Read more

Winning the War – One Battle at a Time

October 20, 2009 How many times have we heard that old admonition “you may have won the battle, but you have not won the war.” A good warning against complacency to be sure, but I feel that it is also important to remember that you cannot win the war without first winni... Read more

An Office By Any Other Name…

October 6, 2009 As Shakespeare famously put it, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” So what’s in a name? If you have been following the progress of the debate over the future of insurance regulation, it would seem like the answer is: quite a bit. This afte... Read more

Mutuals Top the List(s)

September 22, 2009 We’re here at the NAMIC Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, so it seems like a good time to hold the mirror up to our membership and see how we are faring in this competitive industry. To do this, we have a few objective sources we can rely on … “best of” l... Read more

At The Table

September 8, 2009 When it comes to the creation of legislation, it is often said that if you are not at the table, you are on the menu. Unfortunately the more outlandish and unnecessary we think a proposal might be, the more important it is that we engage in a constructi... Read more

We’re From the NAIC, and We’re Not Here to Help

August 11, 2009 Late last year, the chair of the NAIC's task force on climate change and global warming, Wisconsin Commissioner Sean Dilweg, was considering disbanding the committee after it completed its work on the Insurer Climate Risk Disclosure Survey. Dilweg had a... Read more

More From the ‘Gene’ Pool

July 28, 2009 What do you get when you bring together 20 well-versed experts – elected officials, insurance execs, educators – to discuss the challenges of the property/casualty insurance market along the coasts? You might think it would be all-out war, but the Catas... Read more

Hold On to Your Wallet

July 14, 2009 President Obama came into office with permission to spend money. The financial crisis, health care reform, and economic stimulus are all expensive projects. The $3.5 trillion fiscal year 2010 budget blueprint approved by Congress reflects the commitment... Read more

There Ought to Be a Law

June 30, 2009 More than 200 NAMIC property/casualty conference execs as well as nearly 200 family members and guests attended the Management Conference last week in Mont Tremblant, about 90 miles north of Montreal. The village was perfect and picturesque and the semi... Read more

Positive Feedback from Washington

June 23, 2009 The months of waiting finally came to an end last Wednesday when President Barack Obama unveiled his proposal for cleaning up the U.S. financial services sector. In a paper titled “ Financial Regulatory Reform – A New Foundation: Rebuilding Financial Su... Read more

On Message

June 16, 2009 The day is here … or it will be tomorrow when President Obama and his economic team unveil their proposals for modernizing the regulation of financial services. For months, government officials have wrangled over the best way to restructure the convolut... Read more

The Long Road to an NFIP Extension

June 9, 2009 We are about two weeks into hurricane season, and Congress will soon consider the reform and reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program scheduled to sunset by September's end. However, as of today, no bill has been introduced. American home... Read more

Building a Stronger Nation, One State at a Time

June 2, 2009 Let’s face it – building codes are a somewhat boring little corner of the insurance public policy world. But they’re an important cornerstone in protecting lives and property when disaster strikes. For example, following Hurricane Katrina, The Louisiana... Read more

Old Gray Lady

May 26, 2009 I don't often agree with the New York Times' editorial page, but " Regulator Shopping " last Thursday shows its editors have clearly been reading our materials. The editorial reiterated every fact NAMIC has alleged about the optional federal charter and... Read more

Drive Thy Congress

May 19, 2009 Advocacy and activism are common traits in our industry. In fact, the mutual insurance concept itself was created by activists who devised a way to control their own destinies in the face of an often-hostile environment. Against the challenges of today'... Read more

Choosing Sides

May 12, 2009 Last month, five-term Republican senator from Pennsylvania Arlen Specter took his political ball to go and play for the Democratic team. What an anniversary gift he gave to President Obama the day before the president's milestone 100th day in office. Wh... Read more

An Audacious Life

May 5, 2009 I served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at HUD under Jack Kemp. Besides the selected observations below, I remember that I was meeting with Jack around 7 p.m. on June 25, 1992, when my wife Briget's call was routed through the HUD swit... Read more

Extraordinary Needs in Extreme Times

April 28, 2009 In every aspect of life there will be times when we don't control the cards we are dealt … but we can control how we play the hand. Here at NAMIC we have created a strategy – a successful strategy – of grassroots advocacy in which we work together with ... Read more

Policy News Potpourri

April 21, 2009 Here are three important subjects in three minutes … On the heels of learning that Florida legislators seem to have finally experienced an epiphany – realizing the error … and potential devastation … of their ways in confronting the insurance crisis in ... Read more

No Peace in D.C.

April 14, 2009 Thanks to Easter recess it has been quiet in Washington these past two weeks. The first calm since the financial crisis emerged last fall. But just prior to the break, Reps. Melissa Bean and Ed Royce introduced their National Insurance Consumer Protecti... Read more

Fads, Peer Pressure, and Bad Decisions

April 7, 2009 At some point during my teen years, I remember being asked a question that was designed to elicit a hint of thought on my part … not an easy task, mind you. "If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you?" A few years back, drinking eight glasses of wat... Read more

McCarran’s Back ....

March 31, 2009 March 17: NAMIC’s Chair-elect John Hill gave important testimony on insurance regulatory issues before the Senate Banking Committee. March 18: 42 heads were shaved at our St. Baldrick's event , which has raised (so far) more than $20,000 for children’s ... Read more

Beating a Dead Horse

March 24, 2009 About 18 months ago I penned the column “Fini … Finito … Finished” for Advocacy Update. The column came on the heels of the Federal Trade Commission's much-anticipated release of its report on credit-based insurance scoring. In this column, I wrote that... Read more

In The Arena*

March 17, 2009 In Washington, financial services regulatory reform issues are at the forefront. Two weeks ago, I spoke on a panel discussing insurance regulation in the 21st century. Fortunately, this event was not a situation where we were preaching to the choir, as ... Read more

Unfair Comparison...but Tempting

March 10, 2009 One is a South American president, a leftist with authoritarian leanings. Another is a U.S. governor, a Republican with socialist leanings, at least when it comes to the issue of property/casualty insurance. Visions of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez p... Read more

The Power of Grassroots

February 24, 2009 We know that NAMIC and its members need to do more in Washington in this extremely active and challenging environment for our industry. That is why we have planned and budgeted for growth in our D.C. office as many other associations have been forced to... Read more

Bursting Bubbles

February 17, 2009 I have been spending quite a bit of time in D.C. lately; so much that my wife, Briget, and our kids are beginning to wonder if I've moved back to 918 Independence Ave SE, our first house. We put every penny we had into that row house back in 1991 though... Read more

NAMIC is … here, there, and everywhere

February 10, 2009 I don't need to remind anyone of the tumultuous year we had in 2008. Unfortunately, 2009 doesn't look much better – all around. Congress continues to focus its attention on bailouts, stimulus packages, and confirmation hearings. However, we cannot allow... Read more

When Reality Hits the Fan

February 3, 2009 A couple of interesting developments have come out of Florida recently. A task force finalized its report two weeks ago advising yanking Citizens Property Insurance Corporation from its perch as the state's top insurer, returning it to its original miss... Read more

Let Us All Hang Together

January 27, 2009 Five years ago, NAMIC stood with you fighting the application of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to mutual insurers. The value of that advocacy has been millions of dollars for your companies and policyholders. Other representatives of the industry sat on their ... Read more

Briefly Speaking

January 20, 2009 In Thanksgiving … It’s an historic day in our nation’s Capitol as President-elect Barack Obama takes the oath of office. Congratulations to President Obama and to our grand republic that has seen this peaceful transition take place 44 times. We look for... Read more

Hello ...

January 13, 2009 Hello... "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them." Albert Einstein In the next few months, two New England Democrats, Rep. Barney Frank and Sen. Chris Dodd, and the Obama Treasury ... Read more

Happy New ‘Old’ Year!

January 6, 2009 Welcome to 2009... where some old things are new again! About 16 months ago, I penned a column for Advocacy Update heralding the alleged controversy over credit-based insurance scoring as dead. The column came on the heels of the release of independent ... Read more