March 27, 2014

Missouri Insurance Department hosts regulators from Nigeria, Czech Republic

International fellows learn benefits of state-based insurance regulation

Jefferson City, Mo. - Veteran regulators from Nigeria and the Czech Republic are spending five weeks with the Missouri Department of Insurance. Ahmad Adamu and Robert Simek arrived in Jefferson City on March 3 through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' International Fellows Program.

Adamu is solicitor for the National Insurance Commission of Nigeria, where he manages regulatory intervention of insurance companies and coordinates compliance activities. He monitors liquidation and receiverships of insurance companies. He has worked for the commission since 2002, first overseeing legal services and later enforcement and compliance.

Adamu has been complimentary of the department's "spectacular" regulatory approach and congenial working environment.

"My presence in Missouri has further enlightened me in the value of socialization and friendly disposition of Americans," Adamu said. "Sharing personal experiences and so much inclination to assist others is part of the culture of people and in my view is the reason for the prime position that the U.S. occupies in the committee of nations."

Simek is an off-site inspector who specializes in business conduct. He reports to the Czech National Bank regarding the insurance industry. He has worked for the bank since 2012.  Prior to that he was a financial adviser, attorney and compliance officer.

"My stay in Missouri has opened my mind in a way of thinking more globally," Simek said. "While we have a lot of commonalities and differences in our regulatory system, we share similar goals. Sharing experiences has led me to new discoveries of possible practical means or solutions in reaching them more effectively. That is the real added value of this program."

During their stay, Adamu and Simek have worked with every division in the Insurance Department, accompanied financial examiners during on-site work at insurance companies, and met with companies regulated by the department.

"Mr. Adamu and Mr. Simek bring a wealth of international regulatory knowledge to our department," said Insurance Director John M. Huff. "It's invaluable when regulators from across the world share best practices with us. The NAIC International Fellows Program not only benefits our fellows, but also our department. This exchange ultimately helps us better protect Missouri consumers."

Once their fellowship ends, Adamu and Simek will travel to New York City to finish their training at the NAIC Capital Markets & Investment Analysis Office.

The Missouri Department of Insurance has hosted 11 international regulators through the NAIC program since 2010. Last October, the department hosted a senior regulator from India.

The fellows program is fully funded by the NAIC and home nations of the fellows. Fellows participate in a weeklong orientation at the NAIC headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., focusing on the broad principles of U.S. insurance regulation. They then spend five weeks at their destination state's insurance department.

With $31.8 billion in premium volume in 2012, Missouri is the 18th largest insurance market in the United States. Internationally, it ranks 38th, ahead of countries such as Denmark, Russia and Norway.