Actuarially Sound

Alphabet Soup Round 2 – NCOIL

Alphabet Soup Round 2 – NCOIL

By Matthew Sonduck 
Director, Public Policy 

It happened again. The alphabet soup of acronyms reared its ugly head.  

This time I was chatting with a new neighbor, who just moved in down the street. After exchanging pleasantries and talking about our families, the conversation turned toward what we do for a living. He works for the defense industry, and I shared that I work in public policy. Even though unplanned, from that point forward the conversation rapidly escalated into a duel of who knew or could use more acronyms.  

Although close, my neighbor won the acronym war. The defense sector has acronyms for just about everything, but insurance and financial services run a close second. After about 10 minutes, with both of us appropriately confused, we entered an armistice and transitioned the discussion into sports.  

You might be thinking, “What does this have to do with the Academy?” Don’t worry, I’m getting there. 

Many of the Academy’s members specialize in a particular practice area, such as health insurance, life insurance, casualty and property insurance, retirement, or risk management and financial reporting. Some of those practice areas engage with external stakeholders primarily at the federal level, such as retirement. Others might engage more at the state or local level, such as most life practitioners. Still others split their time at the federal and state levels, like health and casualty. Some members may work primarily with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), while others may work with specific states or federal agencies or even a wide array of other national and regional coalitions of external stakeholders. Not all members are exposed to all external stakeholders, which is why the Academy is trying to help explain who these other organizations are and why they are important.  

To dive back into the alphabet soup, one such stakeholder group is best known by its acronym, NCOIL, or the National Council of Insurance Legislators.   

1) What is NCOIL? 

From its website, NCOIL was founded in 1969 as a legislative organization comprised principally of legislators serving on state insurance and banking committees around the nation with a dual-purpose mission: to develop model legislation in insurance and serve as an educational forum for policymakers and interested parties. Like other organizations, NCOIL has a committee structure that is reminiscent of the Academy’s practice councils. The committees focus on health insurance, property/casualty insurance, life insurance, and workers’ compensation, in addition to other committees that spotlight their engagement with the NAIC and with their federal counterparts.    

2) Why is NCOIL important for the Academy’s mission? 

External stakeholders like NCOIL are important as their decisions impact the public. As mentioned above, one key item that NCOIL produces is model legislation. Model legislation is typically considered and acted upon by the members at their three annual in-person meetings and occasional interim meeting with input from a wide variety of external stakeholders. Once adopted by NCOIL’s Executive Committee, model legislation may be introduced by state lawmakers during their legislative sessions, thereby creating a basis for legislative consistency.  

Engagement with NCOIL provides unique opportunities to: 

  • Directly interact with state legislators and their staff who are instrumental in crafting legislation that may impact insurance and financial security. 
  • Gather and relay intelligence on pending and future public policy issues.  
  • Increase efficiency by providing the Academy’s thought leadership to a broad group of lawmakers vs. a state-by-state approach.    
  • Facilitate the introduction of the Academy, our members, and the volunteers’ work products to key target audiences and others. 

3) What are some examples of the recent Academy engagement with NCOIL?  

Academy staff regularly attend NCOIL’s in-person meetings, as well as their interim meetings, to connect with state lawmakers, regulators, federal lawmakers, NCOIL staff, and other external stakeholders. When strategically aligned, the Academy may also create opportunities for our volunteers to present to NCOIL on a wide range of topics. Most recently: 

Throughout the year I engage with NCOIL staff to share important and relevant Academy deliverables as well as to propose presenters or panels for upcoming NCOIL meetings where state legislators and our volunteers can connect directly. The Academy is currently considering proposals for NCOIL’s fall annual meeting. 

Acronyms don’t have to be confusing, like in the above example. Just remember that others might not have the same expertise or experience and that explanation brings edification. Building on other Academy blogs discussing relationship building, the Academy is focused on engagement efforts with the broad public policy community. Strategic relationship building, like engagement with important external stakeholders, is critical in the Academy’s pursuit of fulfilling its mission.  

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