The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has formed an Innovation and Technology task force, geared toward increasing the regulatory know-how of carriers’ insurtech strategies.

Members will work to keep state regulators up to date on new products and services from startup companies and established insurance industry players, the NAIC said. Michigan Insurance Director Patrick McPharlin and Oregon Insurance Commissioner Laura Robison will lead the task force as chair and vice-chair, respectively.

"Insurance regulators have a critical role to play in supporting innovation,” said Ted Nickel, NAIC president and Wisconsin insurance commissioner, in a statement. “This includes working with individuals and companies creating new product offerings and services to meet consumer expectations, while ensuring consumers are adequately protected."

NAIC President Ted Nickel at the 2017  Property/Casualty Insurance Joint Industry Forum
NAIC President Ted Nickel at the 2017 Property/Casualty Insurance Joint Industry Forum Dan Pollard

Annual investment in insurtech increased to more than $2.5 billion in 2016, with continued growth expected in the coming years, according to the NAIC. The new Innovation and technology task force is intended to oversee the organization’s big data, cybersecurity and speed-to-market working groups.

“Existing technology doesn’t fit within the regulatory toolbox.” Nickel said at the Property/Casualty Insurance Joint Industry Forum Jan.17, conceding that regulators’ biggest barrier in approving new innovations is a lack of education.

The task force, reporting directly to the NAIC Executive Committee, will meet for the first time on April 9 at the NAIC's Spring 2017 National Meeting in Denver. The group of commissioners who will serve on it is still being determined, according to an NAIC spokesperson.

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