5 Questions for Susan Voss

Share via emailShare on FacebookShare on Twitter

NAFA Annuity Outlook asked Susan Voss, former Iowa Insurance Commissioner, for her opinions on these five key industry issues. She provides her insights below.

1. What are some of the key changes you have seen in the industry in the past year?

Voss: There has been a greater interaction with federal and international regulators. While state regulators remain the chief source of regulation, carriers must now follow actions nationally and globally that impact them. This is a greater stress on carriers.

I believe the continued discussion about accounting practices, including AG 33 and 43 and principle-based reserving, will continue to impact carriers. Already, companies are reviewing their practices for changes.

Carriers are ramping up their lobbying efforts at all levels.

Obviously, the Affordable Care Act has made a huge difference; carriers are really watching the Federal Reserve and Treasury, and I believe they will really be the movers of change in the future.

2. What impact do you think the insurance industry will experience if Congress removes any of the tax advantages for insurance in the coming years?

Voss: This could be devastating to carriers. I believe there will be huge lobbying efforts, not only by carriers but by regulators as well. There is already some concern that insurance lags other financial instruments in its attractiveness to younger people. Eliminating the tax advantage could really stress carriers.

3. What do you feel will be the most pressing concern for licensed insurance agents in 2014 on the regulatory front?

Voss: If we can get NARAB II enacted and moving forward, I believe this will be a game changer for many licensed agents.

Note: (The U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers Reform Act of 2013 (NARAB II) in September 2013, and it moved onto the Senate for consideration. NARAB II would make it easier for financial professionals to conduct business in multiple states. If passed, it would create a nonprofit organization to act as a clearinghouse where agents and brokers could gain virtual nationwide licensing through a single process.)

4. What are your thoughts on how our industry can stay relevant during changing times?

Voss: We need a better story for younger people who are thinking about their futures. Social media is part of the equation. But how can we educate people to understand the need for such products? Young people need to know that “I” stands for “Insurance” not just “iPhone!”

5. Do you have suggestions on how financial professionals can stay in tune with areas both within their state and nationally?

Voss: I believe the NAIC is trying to be the source of all things regulatory, and that includes the national scene. However, I’m not sure there is one entity that can fill the bill. Obviously, specific groups should maintain an association or website, Facebook page, etc. This is such a huge industry, that one group can’t possibly fill all the needs. However, there definitely needs to be opportunities to share information between entities and their regulators, and regulators need to admit that without the industry, they are nothing! So, step up and provide greater opportunities for face-to-face discussions that maintain the integrity and strength of the industry!

Related Articles