Rhode Island welcome

From the regulator side, Joseph Torti III, deputy director and superintendent, Banking and Insurance Department of Rhode Island, took the stage to frame the 39th annual ICAE Exchange.
From the regulator side, Joseph Torti III, deputy director and superintendent, Banking and Insurance Department of Rhode Island, took the stage to frame the 39th annual ICAE Exchange.

About the Rhode Island Department
Smaller in staff than most state departments of insurance (DOI), but truly a force to be acknowledged.  In Rhode Island, all financial services regulators and licensure activities are housed in one department.  A partial list of licensure areas includes upholstery, liquor control, auto body, athletics and more.  More specifically, Torti noted this department also handles oversight for all financial services including insurance and banking.  He also noted health insurance is handled by a separate agency—as provided for by the legislature due to the importance of health insurance to residences—however, the two agencies have a strong collaborative relationship.

Rhode Island has a mandate to foster a business-friendly environment—which reflects the DOI’s history and attitude. Torti focused on his department’s accreditation programs and their importance to prevent business insolvencies—an action with clear negative impact on consumers.

Torti noted that accreditation standards are the minimum standards for conducting business and he works closely with the NAIC accreditation standard working committee to help ensure both state oversight controls and streamline processing are accommodated—while working to enhance results for the consumer.

Market conduct standards program from NAIC
Torti is currently involved with the NAIC working committee designed to create collaborative standards for market regulation as a stand-alone program that is not tied to current accreditation standards.  NAIC is working toward approval of this new proposal by 2016.  As a very high overview, this market regulation proposal includes:

  • Uniform standards across states
  • Qualifications for regulation professionals
  • Established best practices
  • Training programs
  • Collaboration of standards for states

Why should industry support?
Industry, especially multi-state companies, will benefit from this collaborative standards effort. These standards, if approved, will help eliminate inefficient and ineffective systems and duplication—thus reducing the cost.  And, in addition to benefiting consumers, the NAIC also anticipates the program will very positively impact consumer affairs specialists—on both the industry side and regulator side.

As a supporter of a pro-business environment and a strong believer of what the insurance industry provides, Torti ended his comments by praising the important work of insurance consumer affairs specialists.

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