Commissioner Seeks Reliability, Availability and Affordability in Product Regulation
Speaking at an industry conference this week, Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier highlighted reliability, availability and affordability as the cornerstones of product regulation. Commissioner Altmaier briefly discussed these areas as they currently relate to the Florida insurance market. In the area of reliability, the Commissioner noted that the Office of Insurance Regulation’s financial oversight role seeks to ensure companies are able to pay their claims when the need arises. He also commented on the OIR’s role in monitoring market conduct to ensure that companies are providing benefits consistently with the policies.
Commissioner Altmaier commented that the availability of insurance can be measured by product lines and coverage options, as well as by geographic areas. The Commissioner intends to maintain a regulatory process that favors making products available in the private market rather than government insurance mechanisms. He pointed the challenge of regional dislocations in the market based on specific types of perils or risks. He noted that the OIR tries to work with insurers, agents, consumers and others to address situations that limit insurers’ ability or willingness to offer products in particular areas.
Finally, the Commissioner stressed that affordability in the insurance market requires a balanced view. The key consideration is to ensure that products are priced commensurately with risk, and to ensure that consumers understand the pricing of their products in relation to the coverages they are obtaining. In this regard, affordability isn’t solely a function of rate levels but instead requires consideration of rate levels in relation to policy coverages and options.
In terms of allowing insurers to bring products to the market as expeditiously as possible, the OIR strives to review filings as promptly as possible and is sensitive to insurers’ goals of pursuing product approvals as efficiently as they can. Commissioner Altmaier noted that perhaps the primary challenge from the OIR’s standpoint is reviewing filings that are amendments to previously-certified filings in which certified provisions do not conform to statutory or regulatory requirements.