Birny Birnbaum Gives Up NAIC Consumer Rep Role
Birny Birnbaum has ended his 25-year run as a funded consumer representative at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Birnbaum, the executive director of the Austin, Texas-based Center for Economic Justice, first became an NAIC consumer rep in 1999, when he took over from the center’s previous executive director, Victoria Benitez.
Birnbaum said in an email interview that he decided not to reapply because he no longer felt his work at the association was doing much good.
“I think there are more effective ways to promote and achieve improved consumer protection, greater availability and affordability of insurance, address structural racism in insurance and stop the numerous unfair and deceptive practices in life insurance and annuities than attending NAIC meetings,” Birnbaum said.
What it means: Financial professionals who follow the NAIC may have a harder time understanding it now that Birnbaum is no longer providing his plain-English analyses of its work.
Consumer reps: The NAIC, a group for state insurance regulators, created the consumer rep program in 1992.
The group pays for the funded reps to travel to NAIC meetings and speak up for consumers. Other, unfunded reps pay their own meeting-related travel bills.
Grace Arnold of Minnesota is the regulator who serves as the chair of the NAIC Consumer Liaison Committee this year.