Driven by opportunities ahead of us to protect consumers and efficiently oversee Ohio’s insurance industry, the 18th largest in the world, we at the Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI) have raced out of the starting gate in 2020. More than ever regulators have to be on their toes to not just keep pace as insurance undergoes rapid modernization, but lead the way.

Consumers, stakeholders, industry, and regulators alike face uncertainty in these innovative times. Engaged and purposeful leadership is a way to cultivate a sensible grasp and bring direction to new and emerging trends — many of which are redefining the insurance landscape. We are excited to be in the thick of it all making a difference through leadership.

One of our main vehicles is to take on leadership roles at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), which provides insurance regulation guidance to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. We are engaged as ever working on critical issues ranging from fraud, company financial monitoring, and consumer protection to product pricing, technology, and more.

Just recently, for the second consecutive year I was chosen to serve on the NAIC’s executive committee and as Vice Chair of the Midwest Zone. Additionally, I will serve as the Chair of the Life Insurance and Annuities Committee and as a member of the Property and Casualty Insurance Committee. In all, we were selected to represent Ohio on 19 committees and task forces. These leadership posts put us in positions to shape change, and promote competition and innovation while advocating for what’s best for Ohio insurance consumers, agents, and companies. We are so very proud to represent Ohio in this capacity.

I encourage you to keep up on the different NAIC activities through the great information provided on their website. You’ll also find links to access the organization’s social media platforms. And as always, you are always welcome to reach out to us.

In other developments:

• ODI has transitioned to a national search application to provide Ohioans a more comprehensive missing life insurance policy and annuity contract search tool.

• ODI revoked the licenses of Milford, Ohio, insurance agent Gregory Oliver and his agency, Oliver Financial Services Corporation, for using fraudulent, coercive, and dishonest practices. Oliver fabricated documents and intentionally withheld, misappropriated or converted more than $500,000 without his clients’ knowledge or consent.

• renters insurance is not just for people renting apartments. It can also be a wise investment for home renters. A renter’s personal belongings that are damaged or stolen will not be covered by a landlord or property management company’s insurance policy.

• the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) unveiled a new website. The website’s modernization involved input from customers, state regulators, members of the customer service team, and NIPR board members.

• ODI’s Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP) held a Medicare Questions Phone Bank staffed with counselors from OSHIIP, and the Long-term Care Ombudsman’s Office. Nearly 300 callers were assisted during the event. Additionally, OSHIIP program director Christina Reeg sat down with Daytime Columbus to discuss Medicare and Medicaid managed plans and other cost savings programs. As part of its outreach efforts, OSHIIP will host monthly phone banks across the state every third Thursday through June.

• ODI implemented a new process for allowing electronic signatures on the Electronic Filing Authenticity Affidavits (Form INS7240). The form can be found on the Department’s website. Once the form has been electronically routed and signed by all three officers, the form gets uploaded along with the signed and notarized Jurat Page and emailed to ORA.OneSpan@insurance.ohio.gov.

(Jillian Froment is director of the Ohio Department of Insurance in Columbus.)

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