Actuarially Sound

Embrace Your Inner Wonk by Attending an NAIC Meeting

Embrace Your Inner Wonk by Attending an NAIC Meeting

By Geralyn Trujillo
Senior Policy Director

Insurance policy conferences are not where most individuals would opt to spend considerable time—in fact, many of us have grumbled and actively avoided some of those meetings in the past. So it may be surprising when I admit that I actually enjoy spending a week with state regulators, insurance commissioners, industry players, consumer advocates, and (of course) the Academy’s team of staff, leadership, and volunteers several times annually at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIC) national meetings.

For those who have not experienced a national meeting, the NAIC meets three times a year to discuss, debate, and push forward work that influences and impacts insurance rules and regulations across practice lines. For the Academy, that means we spend a few days with 2,600 folks who are just as interested in and focused on the details in the policy and politics that comes with being part of the insurance industry as we are.

We kicked off the 2024 NAIC meeting cadence in Phoenix over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend. For those who are interested in the details of what happened in the actuarial world in Arizona, I’d invite you to take advantage of the Academy’s public policy team’s webinar that highlights the specifics by practice area. The team will be hosting post-meeting webinars going forward, sharing the details of the Academy’s engagement, the work of the practice councils, and previewing what members and those in the profession have to look forward to in the months ahead.

As you sit on some of the conference calls or liaise in the conference rooms, listening to the discussions and seeing how frequently the Academy is referenced for help or insights, the level of engagement makes sense. What is not as obvious is the value and the importance that comes with some of the non-work that happens at the meeting.

Much of the benefit of attending the meetings comes from the casual conversations in the hallways, during receptions, and walking from the hotel to the meeting space and back. That is when you hear more of the frank perspectives that are helpful when trying to understand where the true points of conflict may lie or some of the political underpinnings that influence when an issue will be discussed in public versus in private.

The Academy hosts a joint practice council dinner at each meeting—which is partly a member thank you and partly a social event that encourages our members, the regulators we work with, and other key stakeholders to break bread together, engaging with each other on a more personal basis. We also host a reception, which is intended to help engage other interested parties—those industry lobbyists, association staff, consumer advocates, state legislators, and other meeting attendees who may not be aware of what the Academy does outside of the NAIC actuarial task force meetings. Additionally, we attend other organizations’ receptions, dinners, and breakfasts—which offer us opportunities to engage with our peers, to share information, and do some reconnaissance on what issues may be coming to us in the near and distant future.

You don’t have to be a natural extrovert to get a lot out of the formal and informal opportunities at a national conference like the NAIC. A seemingly innocent hallway conversation may lead to an invitation for a member to serve on a panel at a future meeting or some follow-up by a regulator or legislative staff on work that one of the practice councils has been doing on a specific issue of interest. We can recruit new members and new volunteers, find new advocates who will help support keeping the actuarial voice at the policymaking table, and identify new audiences who may benefit from the work products and research that the Academy publishes every day.

So why does the Academy focus on the NAIC national meetings? It all comes back to the Academy’s mission—we’re looking to inform and educate policymakers and the public while highlighting the actuarial perspective and expertise on key issues. It should come as no surprise that when the current president of the NAIC, Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Andrew Mais, spoke to his 2024 priorities, that the issues he is focused on echo in the strategic priorities of the Academy’s practice councils.

Focusing on covering the insurance gap—which includes addressing financial inequities, improving insurance literacy, and keeping up with the ever-evolving technology innovations that challenge the regulators as well as industry to simply keep up—he called on all of us to find creative solutions to the issues that impact us all. He also reminded everyone in the room that we work in one of the most dynamic and satisfying industries—so we should spread the word and encourage the next generation to join our ranks.

Interested in learning more? Check out the Academy’s webinars. Talk to one of our key volunteers or an Academy staff member. Take a look at the Academy’s website and the NAIC’s website at the plethora of projects and issues that are currently being addressed. Consider volunteering! And if you’re in Chicago in August, make sure to let us know! We’ll be happy to see another insurance policy wonk joining in on the fun.

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