Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Insurance Commissioner Goodwin and State Regulation Protect Consumers

This article ran in yesterday's Enquirer-Journal in Monroe, North Carolina.

Of note are the following excerpts from Jason deBruyn's news coverage:
The N.C. Insurance Commissioner stopped in Union County Monday and said he wants to protect North Carolinians.

...[Wayne] Goodwin said he hears daily questions and concerns on health insurance and how legislation in Washington will affect people in North Carolina; Mondays meeting was on the same topic.

...“Cost, cost and cost.” Those were the top three concerns Goodwin said he hears from people. Beyond that, access to health care and consumer protections were high on the list as well.

“We want to make sure that there are no unintended consequences,” Goodwin said. ...

One particular aspect Goodwin wants to make sure is worded precisely is allowing insurance companies to sell across state lines.

On the surface, giving consumers more options sounds like a good idea, he said. But shoppers who don’t read the fine print could be in for a rude awakening, he said.

Insurance plans in California are high on earthquake coverage, for example. A buyer in North Carolina might not need that. Also, not all states mandate coverage for diabetes or breast cancer. Rules and regulations that cross state lines could become blurred and tricky for a consumer to decipher.
State-based regulation, contrasted with federal preemption, is key to consumer protection as well, a point that North Carolina's insurance regulator shares with his peers in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

Insurance Commissioner Goodwin also declared how his independence as an elected official made him a greater and fiercer advocate for consumer protection than other types of regulators.
The insurance commissioner’s office is an independently elected position in North Carolina and Goodwin said that helps that official stay beholden to the voters and consumers, not anyone else, and keep the voters best interest in mind when making suggestions about any legislation.


Anonymous said...

I would like to know why the other states that border us plus many other states recieve a discount on car insurance when a safety course is taken that is given by AARP and AAA. Could it possibly be that Insurance companies are heavy contributors to your campaign?

Wayne Goodwin said...

Excellent questions, Anonymous.

The fact is this simple: North Carolina's automobile insurance rates are THE LOWEST in the South. Furthermore, NC is the largest state in the USA with the very lowest auto insurance rates. It is my understanding that various insurance companies that offer discounts of the kind you described in other states have chosen NOT to even request approval for those discounts here in NC because our rates are already so low. It appears to be a business decision on the part of the insurance companies not to request those discounts here, and not a decision by your Dept of Insurance.

Meanwhile, you asked a question about camapign contributions. If you'd examine my blog from 2008 (when I filed for Insurance Commissioner) through the present, and if you'd also examine the campaign contribution records of the NC State Board of Elections, it is abundantly clear that insurance companies are NOT heavy contributors to my campaign. The vast majority of my contributors are individuals. And, given the tone of your question I'd anticipate you would be pleased to know that I was a publicly financed candidate in my election.