Floridians deserve full, fair insurance company regulations

Planning for the future is a lifelong endeavor—even under the best of circumstances.

Today it may seem impossible. Stagnating wages, rising health care costs and a lack of affordable housing are putting more and more Florida residents under financial pressure every day. Consumers who want reliable financial tools for themselves and their loved ones deserve as many affordable options as possible.

Today, these options are under direct threat from the very regulators tasked with standing by consumers to protect them from large, profitable corporations that use their power to make profits at the expense of consumers’ financial security.

For many families, life insurance is the only tool they can rely on for financial security. People who have life insurance plans know how important they are. They exist to provide stability after tragedy, disaster, or unimaginable loss.

Forbes reports that nearly 70% of Americans with life insurance feel financially secure, while less than half of those without life insurance feel the same way. After the death of a primary breadwinner, nearly half (44%) of Americans say they would feel a financial strain within six months.

Without life insurance, seniors may not be able to live independently at home and parents may not be able to put food on the table for their children.

When I was Florida’s Consumer Insurance Advocate, I fought for consumers and championed equal rights and opportunities for all. I’ve seen what big insurers will do to pad their profits at the expense of our families, workers and retirees; and while their latest plan comes as no surprise, it is crucial that our leaders stop it.

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MetLife, Prudential, and other major insurance companies use their influence within the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), which develops policies and regulations that are then passed at the state level, to crush their competitors and consumers alike.

In April, the big companies, which control more than half of the life insurance market, asked the NAIC to pass a new rule that wouldn’t apply to them but would mean a 50% penalty for smaller insurers who create competition Give consumers options and drive down prices.

When the big insurers say jumps, the NAIC said, “How high?”

The penalty was passed by an NAIC committee within days.

MetLife, Prudential, and other big insurers got exactly what they wanted: a recommendation to force their competitors to bear higher capital costs, which is essentially a cash rule for insurance companies investing their capital. That penalty would mean fewer companies competing with the big insurers, fewer plans on the market, and higher costs for Floridians.

If the new penalty makes it to a final vote by NAIC members — insurance commissioners from across the country — it will be adopted by those commissioners in the states they serve.

Michael Yaworsky, who was appointed head of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation by Gov. Ron DeSantis, has a duty to advocate for Florida consumers, not big businesses.

NAIC’s final verdict is likely to be close, and its vote could be crucial in protecting consumers and telling big insurers that their attempt to work with regulators to give themselves more power and more profits is unacceptable .

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Planning for an uncertain future is difficult enough without the most powerful corporations out there manipulating the rules to their advantage and interfering in our personal financial decisions. Floridians deserve as many affordable options as possible so they can make the best decisions about how to protect their families and plan for the future.

Commissioner Yaworsky must rebuff attempts to single out certain life insurers for costly, damaging penalties that will only end up hurting Florida residents.


Sean Shaw is a former Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate, an independent public watchdog, and currently serves on the Democratic National Committee. He is the founder of People Over Profits, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting corporate influence and fighting for people’s rights.

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