ND Commissioner Talks Banking Fallout, openIDL, and Other 2023 Initiatives

Apr 24, 2023 / by AAIS

In the AAIS Pulse session Commissioner’s Corner: Catching Up with National & State Insurance Regulators, host Lori Dreaver Munn, Director of Compliance and Government Relations at AAIS spoke with multiple leading regulators for their insights on trending regulatory topics including Jon Godfread, Insurance Commissioner for the North Dakota Insurance Department and NAIC Vice President. In this interview, Godfread talked about potential repercussions from the Silicon Valley Bank fallout and FDIC bailout, POC testing with openIDL, top initiatives for North Dakota, and more.

Repercussions from Silicon Valley Bank and FDIC Bailout

Godfread confirms that while the NAIC is certainly monitoring the situation, he does not anticipate any issues from the Silicon Valley Bank fallout in the insurance industry. “I don't think we have the same concerns that bank regulators have,” said Godfread. “This was shown with the 2008 financial crisis; the insurance industry weathered that very well and from all we're tracking right now, the insurance industry is weathering this.” Still, a lot of the repercussions are built on corporate bonds, causing some holdings of insurance companies in that space. “I imagine you'll see us dig a little bit deeper… [just] because there isn't smoke doesn't mean there isn't fire,” Godfread warned.

openIDL POC Testing Update

Godfread also provided an update on North Dakota’s proof of concept using the openIDL blockchain technology. “It all gets back to how we solve the data problem that we have,” Godfread remarked. “North Dakota is a small, rural state, and getting that data has been a challenge for us.” For Godfread, the goal is to answer data questions about insurance in a timely manner in order to make good policy decisions. That's exactly what the proof of concept with openIDL is attempting to do. “We are seeing if we can set up a blockchain system where we can have DOT put the VIN numbers onto the blockchain. It also gets to the heart of answering the uninsured motorist question, which is a big topic in North Dakota,” he explained. These types of processes have been duplicated in other states in terms of full IT upgrade builds for similar types of technology, and Godfread believes this blockchain is going to be more cost-effective. “It's going to be hopefully a simpler model that will have a broader expanse to it and not just solve one singular problem. And then hopefully, we've got a long-term solution.”

Key Initiatives for North Dakota in 2023

North Dakota is focusing on some ancillary issues with the fire marshal this year. “We're going to bring the fire marshal back underneath North Dakota, which should hopefully give us more access to risk mitigation tools and how to engage the citizenry to prevent fires and prevent risks,” Godfread shared.

On the broader topics, North Dakota is working on their budget and focusing on how to maintain the size of its department. Much like many other states, North Dakota has also had significant turnover in their legislature. “This has been a very defensive and educational session for us,” Godfread admitted. “Insurance regulation gets complex very quickly. A lot of knowledge has walked out the door with retirements and elections so we're building that next crop of insurance legislators to be engaged in our process.”

To view the entire interview with Commissioner Jon Godfread, click on the video above.

Tags: openIDL, Data Management/Distributed Ledger, AAIS Pulse, NAIC, Regulators, North Dakota Insurance


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