For Immediate Release: March 30, 2010

Contacts: Kristin Milam 919-807-6011

Commissioner Goodwin Leads National Discussion of Readability Standards

NAIC public hearing explores the issue of the use of plain language in insurance policies

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin announced his participation in the national discussion surrounding the need for insurance policies - particularly health insurance policies - to use plain, more consumer-friendly language. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) held a public hearing Sunday made up of three panels of insurance regulators, NAIC consumer representatives and insurance industry representatives which provided testimony and presentations at the hearing. In his role as the chair of the Consumer Connections Working Group, Commissioner Goodwin led Sunday's public hearing and discussion.

"Today's hearing provides an important starting point for discussion on the issue of insurance contract readability standards," said Commissioner Goodwin. "The current economic downturn makes it increasingly important that consumers are able to understand their insurance policies so they are not at a financial disadvantage and can make well-informed decisions about their insurance needs."

The readability hearing focused on the following issues:

In addition to chairing the NAIC Consumer Connections Working Group, Commissioner Goodwin serves on the Consumer Participation Board of Trustees as one of only five state insurance regulators represented.

Goodwin's participation in these groups is another example of his Good Government Initiative, which strives to increase transparency, access and customer service in state government. Other Good Government Initiative projects include the Department's online suggestion box, added Web presence through social media sites and a mobile Web site, as well as a general increase in consumer outreach and public availability.