By Lenny Giteck
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed enormous challenges to the captive and traditional insurance markets, as well as the entire U.S. economy. We caught up with Joe Deems, NRRA’s Executive Director, and asked how NRRA has responded to the challenges. Here is what he said:
What has NRRA done to address COVID-19?
We decided early on to take the “laboring oar” and launch an aggressive pro-industry response on behalf of RRGs. Undoubtedly, few thought our response — which has gone beyond the responses of others in the captive and traditional insurance industries — would even be possible.
Can you give some examples?
On May 26 of this year, NRRA conducted a fast-paced, 30-minute webinar that drew more than 100 participants. During the program we announced to the attendees and, indeed, the entire RRG industry the launch of our COVID-19 RRG Industry Resources initiative, including our new Library of COVID-19 State Orders.
At the risk of oversimplifying, NRRA took well over 300 state legislative and executive regulatory directives, demands for information, etc., and reduced them into an efficient, user-friendly grid available to NRRA members. (The grid is on our website. If you’re a member, click here.)
This valuable tool — exclusive to NRRA — gives our members access to more than 180 of the orders most relevant to risk retention groups. It also includes interactive notes that describe the orders’ compliance requirements and other important features. The grid is regularly updated by members of NRRA’s Government Affairs Committee COVID-19 Task Force.
NRRA’s Library of COVID-19 State Orders helps our members effectively deal with many state orders made in response to the pandemic — orders that potentially can affect them directly. It also provides valuable insights into the developing law that NRRA has been instrumental in helping to make. That law supports the fact that a significant number of the orders are preempted by the Liability Risk Retention Act.
“We decided early on to take the ‘laboring oar’ and launch an aggressive pro-industry response on behalf of RRGs. Undoubtedly, few thought our response… would even be possible.”
What other actions has NRRA taken with respect to COVID-19?
We drafted and submitted an extensive letter — dated June 12, 2020 — to the Insurance Commissioner of the State of California, Ricardo Lara. The letter included a thorough analysis of United States case law from various courts on the issue of preemption by the Liability Risk Retention Act (LRRA).
The letter included footnotes demonstrating that the California Department of Insurance Bulletins 2020-3 and 2020-4 — which required premium refunds, credits, and reductions in response to COVID-19 — were categorically pre-empted by the LRRA.
According to our information, there has been no further pushback either from the California Rate Specialist Bureau representatives or from any other division in the California Department of Insurance. This makes us believe the department did in fact take into account what NRRA had put out on behalf of the industry — leading to, at least inferentially, a cessation of the questionable requirements.
“This valuable tool — exclusive to NRRA — gives our members access to more than 180 of the orders most relevant to risk retention groups. It also includes interactive notes that describe the orders’ compliance requirements and other important features. ”
Anything else on the agenda for NRRA?
In addition to what I’ve already said, we have created a study that identifies the legislative sources of illegal state registration fees. This study will provide background information for the NAIC RRG Task Force’s ongoing deliberations. I also intend for the compilation to become another members-only resource on our website.
We are planning to produce more online educational events for 2021. One will be a training program to show RRGs how to effectively use all the tools we have created.