What's the role of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and why does it matter in the insurance industry?
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is the regulatory body that governs all things insurance — it sets standards, establishes best practices, and conducts oversight of the insurance industry. Based in Kansas City, Missouri, the NAIC was created in 1871 to regulate insurance across multiple states, acting as a national collective of every state and U.S. territory's insurance officials and regulators. It was formed following the Supreme Court case Paul v. Virginia, which established that Congress could not regulate or legislate the business of insurance.
While the NAIC is made up of each state's insurance commissioners, it remains a non-governmental organization. Its main purpose is to protect and benefit insurance consumers by promoting uniformity of insurance laws and state regulations.
The NAIC helps state insurance regulators do their job by providing support both individually and collectively in carrying out their duties to serve the public interest. Because insurance differs state by state, the NAIC helps coordinate regulation between regions. One of the organization's key objectives is to advocate for insurance consumers by providing resources and guidance in navigating anything to do with insurance — a topic often regarded as perplexing by consumers.
Typically on your proof of insurance card, you'll see a NAIC code, which you will need to file a report with the DMV or to file an insurance claim. Every insurance company's underwriting office is identifiable by its unique NAIC code, and it's common for a large national insurance company to have multiple NAIC codes — often the case if an insurer offers multiple lines of insurance (auto, commercial, life insurance, etc.) and has offices all over the country.
You can also search for your insurance company by their NAIC number and see the NAIC's complaint ratings for your insurance company's regional office. This feature can be found here and can serve as a useful resource if you're shopping around for a new policy.
The NAIC acts as a liaison between policyholders, state insurance regulators and officials, and insurance providers. One of its first significant accomplishments was creating uniform financial reporting for insurance companies, and it continues to interpret legislation concepts and insurance regulations to help standardize the insurance industry despite its state-based nature. It keeps insurance companies in check and provides ever-important oversight over an industry that the federal government has limited power over. If you have issues with your insurance company and your state's insurance commissioner, the NAIC is the organization to speak with.