“Give a man a reputation as an early riser and he can sleep ’til noon,” Mark Twain once said. Reputation is as important today as it was in Twain’s day, but perhaps not necessarily as unassailable. In our era of instant viral social media reaction, another Twain quote may be even more important: “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

Executive Summary

Howard Mills, the former superintendent of insurance for the New York State insurance department, draws a parallel between regulators and consumers—two groups that are increasingly looking at insurers holistically rather than as the sum of various parts. In other words, consumers see insurers as a brand, says Mills, now a leader at Deloitte, offering a long list of potential internal and external risks to a carrier's reputation and outlining a three-part brand management strategy advocated by one of his Deloitte colleagues.

While my focus is usually on insurance regulation, brand and reputation have occupied a significant amount of time in my thoughts lately.

The start of the year is usually a time for reflection on the year gone by and preparation for the year ahead. This year has been no different. As in most first quarters, I have given numerous speeches to many and varied insurance organizations reflecting on what 2015 brought to the industry and what we can expect in 2016. I thoroughly enjoy these events because I always get the opportunity to learn from fellow panelists and the audience.

From a strictly regulatory viewpoint, it seems as if the change we have been expecting has finally come. From ORSA to group supervision to corporate governance and more, the way the insurance industry in the United States has been regulated is changing. This year should see more of the same, with capital standards and market conduct among the areas where enhanced regulatory supervision may be expected.

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