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Maine.gov > PFR Home > Insurance Regulation > All Press Releases > Superintendent Kofman Issues Statement and Releases NAIC Information about AIG, Inc.
Augusta, Maine -
Maine’s Superintendent of Insurance Mila Kofman released information about American International Group (AIG) received from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). The Superintendent’s statement is below, followed by the NAIC press release.
“The financial problems experienced by AIG, Inc. do not currently threaten its insurance company subsidiaries. Those subsidiaries have long been subject to strong regulation by state governments and their solvency has been closely monitored through the years. Additionally, each state, including Maine, has protections in place for policyholders, including guaranty funds for life insurance and other insurance products. Although the State of Maine does not have direct authority or jurisdiction over AIG, Inc, we have established a special team to coordinate with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and other states, and Maine is a member of the special NAIC task force set up to deal with AIG related matters.”
National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC):
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
STATE REGULATORS: AIG INSURERS ABLE TO PAY CLAIMS
State Solvency Standards Protect Policyholders
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Sept. 17, 2008) — In the wake of news that the non-insurance parent company of American International Group (AIG) is facing a financial crisis, state insurance regulators quickly mobilized to ensure that policyholders of the insurance subsidiaries remained protected. This oversight will continue as AIG operates under the credit facility offered by the Federal Reserve.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has established a working group to oversee AIG insurance interests in this financial situation and to coordinate with federal regulators as needed. New York State Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo is chair of the working group and Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario will serve as vice-chair.
“AIG’s non-insurance parent company is federally regulated and, therefore, not held to the same investment, accounting and capital adequacy standards as its state-regulated insurance subsidiaries,” said NAIC President and Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger. “The insurance subsidiaries are solvent and able to pay their obligations. In fact, it will likely be the insurance subsidiaries — or their valuable blocks of business and high- quality assets — that will be sold in an attempt to return the AIG parent company to a more stable financial position.”
Why are the insurers in a position to help out the financially challenged parent? State insurance regulators have numerous actions they can take to prevent an insurer from failing. Rating downgrades and drops in share price do not change an insurer’s ability to pay claims. From conservative accounting rules and mandatory annual CPA audits to investment regulations/limitations and minimum capital/surplus requirements, a state insurance regulator’s “toolbox” allows insurers to handle greater losses than other parts of the financial sector in down-market cycles. Additional regulatory tools include performing regular, periodic financial analysis of insurers, and on-site examinations.
How are the policyholders protected, in the unlikely event that the insurer fails? Claims from individual policyholders are given the utmost priority over other creditors in these matters — and, in the unlikely event that assets are not enough to cover these claims, there is still another safety net in place to protect consumers: the state guaranty funds. These funds are in place in all states. If an insurance company becomes unable to pay claims, the guaranty fund will provide coverage, subject to certain limits, similar to the FDIC's coverage for bank accounts.
This entire solvency framework and safety net for policyholders is uniform in every state as evaluated by the NAIC’s Financial Regulation and Accreditation Program.
How did the AIG parent get into financial distress? Non-insurance entities are not subject to the strict solvency framework applied to insurers. This allowed various non-insurers to engage in risky credit transactions (huge positions in credit derivative swaps on mortgage-backed securities) without the appropriate limits and minimum capital/surplus to protect the company from a downswing in the mortgage-backed security markets.
Per the federal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), insurance regulatory authority only applies to actual insurance entities and transactions with those entities. Within AIG, there are 71 U.S. insurers subject to this authority. The remaining 176 entities are split between foreign entities and non-insurance U.S. entities. The lead U.S. regulator of AIG financial holding company is the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), a federal banking regulator.
“The key distinction here is that AIG’s insurance subsidiaries did not cause this crisis — rather, they will play a critical role in the solution,” Praeger added. “Calls for federal regulation of insurance in light of these events are simply unable to be supported. State regulatory oversight has kept the AIG insurance subsidiaries solvent, despite the actions of its federally regulated parent and non-insurance entities. If future developments challenge that solvency, there are state insurance regulatory safeguards in place to protect policyholders.”
About the NAIC
Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is a voluntary organization of the chief insurance regulatory officials of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. The NAIC’s overriding objective is to assist state insurance regulators in protecting consumers and helping maintain the financial stability of the insurance industry by offering financial, actuarial, legal, computer, research, market conduct and economic expertise. Formed in 1871, the NAIC is the oldest association of state officials. For more than 135 years, state-based insurance supervision has served the needs of consumers, industry and the business of insurance at-large by ensuring hands-on, frontline protection for consumers, while providing insurers the uniform platforms and coordinated systems they need to compete effectively in an ever-changing marketplace. For more information, visit www.naic.org/press_home.htm.
The Bureau of Insurance is part of the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation which encourages sound ethical business practices through high quality, impartial and efficient regulation of insurers, financial institutions, creditors, investment providers, and numerous professions and occupations for the purpose of protecting the citizens of Maine. Consumers can reach the Bureau through its web site at www.maine.gov/insurance; by calling 800-300-5000 in state; or by writing to Bureau of Insurance, 34 State House Station, Augusta ME 04333.
Last Updated: April 7, 2009 2:44 PM
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