A new study from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) gives mixed grades to efforts to bring uniformity to producer licensing, product approval, and market conduct regulation across state lines.

While citing improvements in reciprocity of producer licensing among states, the GAO found reciprocity in areas such as consumer protection wanting.  Moreover, in the area of market conduct examinations the report found only a good deal of differences between states. For example, although the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) developed the Market Conduct Annual Statement (MCAS) in 2002 to promote uniform data collection, the study notes that fewer than half of insurance regulators use it for data collection.

However, while the report did laud NAIC’s creation of a working group to coordinate enforcement actions, it notes the continuing discrepancies between states cost the industry dearly. “While better communication and coordination appears to have resulted, according to some states in our sample, the effect on uniformity of market conduct regulation is uncertain,” the report reads. “Lack of uniformity and reciprocity may lead to inefficiencies, higher insurance costs, and uneven consumer protection across states.”

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