Opinion | Do We Need a Federal Risk Manager?

By: | October 17, 2020

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected]

When I first came to work at Risk & Insurance®, now more than 13 years ago, it wasn’t long before the concept of a Federal Insurance Office was proposed.

And in fact, such an office came to being in 2010, germinated by the Dodd-Frank legislation and housed within the Department of the Treasury.

According to NAIC’s website, “The FIO is charged with monitoring all aspects of the insurance sector, including identifying activities within the sector that could potentially contribute to a systemic crisis to the broader financial system, and the extent to which under-served communities have access to affordable insurance products, and the sector’s regulation.”

Hopefully, the office is fulfilling that role, and given what I know of commercial insurance, it isn’t the actions of underwriters, brokers or risk managers that are going to cause systemic financial issues. 

But what about the country overall? The lack of coordination over COVID-19, a vacuum on the issue of climate change and the lack of an honest, productive conversation on race relations plague us, in my view, unnecessarily.

The Fed does its part to manage the economy so that inflation doesn’t rage out of control and people and businesses can still afford to borrow money. But what about an office, or an officer, devoted solely and purely to the management of risk?

Is it naïve to suggest that such a post could be filled by a non-politician, someone with no agenda other than to practice the science of risk management for the benefit of every citizen?

Perhaps I dream, but still, my mind is moved to wonder. &

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