Florida marks it done!
One of the interesting stories coming out of last week’s National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) meeting was not about promoting the growth of a private flood insurance market (they ran out of time to discuss that) but rather opening remarks by New York’s insurance commissioner. She urged her fellow commissioners to appoint consumer advocates and said there needs to be more female insurance regulators and company executives. Last week, the state of Florida named a new Insurance Consumer Advocate and its first Chief Resilience Officer – both female.
Tasha Carter is Florida’s new Insurance Consumer Advocate, working out of the Department of Financial Services (DFS), which oversees the Office of Insurance Regulation. For the past nine years, Ms. Carter has served with distinction as the DFS Division Director of Consumer Services. The division operates the Insurance Consumer Helpline and oversees complaints against companies. She has been a leader in consumer education and protection and LMA has enjoyed working with her for many years.
Dr. Julia Nesheiwat is Florida’s first Chief Resilience Officer (CRO). The CRO is tasked with preparing Florida for the environmental, physical and economic impacts of sea level rise. In announcing her appointment last week, the Governor noted her job will be to help develop resilience goals for the state to help protect our coastal communities from flooding and fortify Florida’s pathway to continued prosperity. The Lake County native has most recently served as a Deputy Special Presidential Envoy for the U.S. State Department.
Last week at the NAIC meeting, the superintendent of the New York’s Department of Financial Services came out swinging in favor of greater consumer advocacy and women in the business. Linda Lacewell, who functionally serves as state Insurance Commissioner, told fellow commissioners that more states need to follow the New York (and Florida) model of having a Consumer Advocate within their department to ensure decisions and policies are consumer-centric. She said there also needs to be more women in insurance regulation and in the executive suite of insurance companies.
Superintendent Lacewell said she was surprised to learn that only 12 of 56 insurance commissioners across the states and U.S. territories are women. She referenced a McKinsey report that said women in the financial services sector account for 56% of entry-level positions, but only 20% of executive positions.
She also used her remarks to advocate for two policy changes she’s overseen in New York. One prohibited carriers from using education and occupation as factors in setting automobile insurance rates. The other implemented the “Best Interest” standard, requiring sellers of life insurance and annuities to act in the best interest of consumers when advising them on policies.
LMA Newsletter of 8-12-19