March 3, 2011
QUESTIONS FOR INSURANCE COMMISSIONER NOMINEE
By: Janet L. Kaminski Leduc, Senior Legislative Attorney
Nicole Dube, Associate Analyst
INSURANCE COMMISSIONER (CGS § 38A-8)
The commissioner is responsible for (1) administering and enforcing insurance laws; (2) protecting the public interest in insurance matters; (3) developing a review program to ensure the department's compliance with the minimum standards established by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for effective financial surveillance and regulation of insurance companies and HMOs; (4) establishing a program to electronically transmit documents, including policy form and rate filings, to and from insurers; and (5) maintaining the confidentiality of information collected or prepared in connection with examinations and investigations of companies and consumer complaints.
1. What do you see as the primary mission of the Insurance Department? How will you balance the interests of the industry with the needs of consumers?
2. The insurance industry is an important part of Connecticut's economy, but insurance-related jobs seem to have declined in the past 10 to 20 years. What can Connecticut do to reverse that trend?
3. Over the past few years, there has been increasing pressure on the Insurance Department to scrutinize proposed health insurance rate increases. There is a legislative proposal this year to expand the department's authority to review and hold public hearings on rate filings. What is your position on holding public hearings on rate filings and making the rate review process more transparent?
4. The department received a $1 million premium rate review grant in October 2010 as part of federal health care reform. Can you describe how this grant is being used and the expected results from using the federal money?
5. How is the department otherwise working to understand and actively participate in the implementation of federal healthcare reform efforts?
6. The federal government has been more active lately in regulating the business of insurance. How does this impact the Insurance Department and its local regulatory control?
7. Do you think the Insurance Department has adequate staff to meet its responsibilities?
8. The Insurance Department is funded by assessments on the industry, rather than from the General Fund. Some might argue that this hinders your ability to effectively regulate the insurance companies. What is your view on this?