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Letter | May 7, 2024

Advocates Urge National Association of Insurance Commissioners and Federal Insurance Office to Ensure Public Access to Data

ClimateFinancial Regulation
Advocates Urge National Association of Insurance Commissioners and Federal Insurance Office to Ensure Public Access to Data

The Revolving Door Project joined other groups in calling on state and federal insurance officials to make the property insurance data now being collected available to the public.

The Revolving Door Project was one of 20 groups that signed a letter urging the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and the U.S. Treasury Department’s Federal Insurance Office (FIO) to ensure that property insurance data now being collected will be made available to the public. It was delivered on May 7, 2024.

“As Americans try to navigate the insurance market’s skyrocketing prices and diminished coverage offerings, and as they face insurer withdrawals from regions in which climate change-driven losses and risk threaten family finances and community economies, policymakers and researchers find very little public data available to help interpret and address this crisis,” the advocates wrote. “With your data call, we hope an era of open data has begun. Public safety and trillions of dollars of family assets, as well as the whole of the American economy, have a stake in making sure we get this right.”

The FIO originally proposed a robust data collection process in October 2022, prompting an outcry from the NAIC, which accused the Treasury of failing to “work collaboratively with [state] regulators on an issue we have both identified as a priority.” Several months later, the NAIC announced its intention to issue a separate call for data. In December 2023, advocates explained why a “piecemeal, state-level approach will not provide the timely nationwide review necessary to allow federal financial regulators to evaluate the potential for systemic risks.” We urged the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to approve the FIO’s proposal while lamenting that the Treasury had narrowed its scope since it was first unveiled. OMB subsequently permitted the FIO to proceed with its own data call, effectively rejecting the insurance lobby’s argument that the NAIC’s initiative alone would suffice. However, the FIO and the NAIC agreed in March 2024 to move forward with a single data collection process.

As Jordan Haedtler and Revolving Door Project senior researcher Kenny Stancil showed in an April 2024 report, the NAIC—an industry-funded trade organization to which all 56 state and territorial insurance commissioners belong—”exists primarily to stave off federal regulation while setting the lowest possible bar for state regulators.” Soon after the NAIC-FIO deal was announced, the New York Times reported that insurance regulators in Republican-led jurisdictions—including the particularly hard-hit states of Florida, Louisiana, and Texas—may limit how much data they provide or decline to participate entirely.

Accordingly, the new letter 1) seeks clarity about the scope of the current data call; 2) highlights the necessity of ensuring full public access to ZIP code-level data; and 3) calls for future data collection to be more comprehensive.

“The NAIC and FIO have initiated a process by which regulators, policymakers, researchers, and the public can gain desperately needed insights into America’s property insurance market and the crisis it is stirring up for communities across the nation,” the groups wrote. “It is critical that the data collected not stay hidden from view and unavailable for independent analysis.”

Read the full letter here or below.

The above photo taken after the Marshall Fire in Boulder County, Colorado, is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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