Just prior to the NAIC meeting in Austin, TX was the annual conference of the International Forum of Insurance Guarantee Schemes (IFIGS) in Washington D.C. NOLHGA served as co-hosts. This was my final duty as 2019 chairman of IFIGS. 17 of the 24 IFIGS members attended and we had about 60 people altogether at the conference on December 4. Special thanks to NCIGF board members Keith Bell, Joyce Mellinger, Smitty Harrison and Brad Roeber for their attendance and support.
We covered a number of topics that are important to those who track international resolution matters. The benefit to us of IFIGS participation is a platform to keep our tested public policies and structure in front of the international standard-setters, including our own regulators who participate. This is another example of how NCIGF is expected to carry the water as subject matter experts on insurance liquidation public policies. Some takeaways for your consideration:
- Tom Sullivan from the Federal Reserve (and member of Team USA) and David Wilson from the CA Liquidation office also participated in panel discussions. Securing their participation was strategically significant to us as it further builds the credibility of the U.S. guaranty fund system as opinion leaders and solidifies our strategic objective to be the definitive leader on matters concerning insurance liquidation and policyholder protection.
- At the business meeting on December 5, the IFIGS membership approved every initiative presented as part of the strategic plan I put forward at the start of the year.
- My goal as IFIGS chair was to assure a more stable, dependable and durable organization that would have credibility with supervisors around the world. Having that available will help NCIGF and NOLHGA represent our interests before international standard-setters. Structurally, that mission is well on its way to accomplishment and will be spurred further by the dynamic leader of the Canadian P/C guaranty fund we recruited to succeed me as chair.
- The next step is to achieve financial continuity to carry IFIGS into the future.
I appreciate the support of the board for me to serve as chair in 2019 and am glad to pass on those duties. It was a worthwhile exercise and should be helpful in 2020, which is expected to be an active year internationally:
- The IAIS Resolution Working Group (ReWG) is preparing to take up an advisory paper on insurance company resolution. We’ve been in close contact with FIO’s Alex Hart who chairs the group and I expect we will have excellent input.
- Perhaps the most critical interaction at the IFIGS meeting was with Dimitris Zaferis, lead staff person for EIOPA. His organization is in the process of establishing “harmonisation” standards for resolution schemes in Europe (some of which have yet to be created). It’s important that major aspects of U.S. public policy (post-funding, primacy of policyholder protection, for example) be recognized as viable policies by EIOPA and the other international regulatory standard setters. Working both as the U.S. and as part of IFIGS, we should be well-positioned to effectively make our case.