Insurance Commissioner Walter A. Bell has been chosen by his peers to serve as President-Elect of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners at the organization’s winter meeting in Chicago. Under NAIC bylaws, Commissioner Bell will ascend to the presidency next December.
Upon assuming the presidency, Commissioner Bell will be the first Alabamian to serve as NAIC President.
The NAIC is the organization of the chief insurance regulatory officials of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. The association’s overriding objective is to assist state insurance regulators in protecting consumers and helping maintain the financial stability of the insurance industry. Formed in 1871, it is the oldest association of state officials.
“I am both honored and humbled by the confidence my fellow commissioners have shown in me,” Commissioner Bell said. “I also appreciate the full support Governor Bob Riley has given me during my tenure in office.”
Commissioner Bell serves on a number of NAIC committees – serving as vice chairman of the Life Committee, chairman of the Speed to Market Task Force, and chairman of the International Relations Committee. He has been a leader in the effort to streamline the states’ efforts in insurance regulation.
“The states are the best place to regulate insurance,” Commissioner Bell said. “Government that is closest to the people is the best form of government. The states are in a much better position to look after the needs of their constituents. Consumers must have a stable, affordable marketplace, and companies need easy access to markets. It is imperative that the states work closely to create an efficient environment in which both consumers and industry can rely.”
Commissioner Bell said his goals also include the creation of a national catastrophe plan to help the states work together in coordinated responses to disasters such as Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina.
“Every thing I’ve seen and read indicates that we are entering a period of more hurricanes. We have to prepare at every level for this. The states have been working together closely – as evidence, our staff at the Alabama Department of Insurance has helped hundreds of evacuees from Mississippi and Louisiana – but we have to prepare to do more to promote stability.”
Alessandro Iuppa, Maine Superintendent of Insurance, ascended to the presidency of the NAIC, replacing Pennsylvania Commissioner Diane Koken. Kansas Commissioner Sandy Praeger was elected Vice President, while New Mexico Insurance Superintendent Eric Serna was elected Secretary-Treasurer.