Roger H. Schmelzer, president of the National Conference of Insurance Guaranty Funds (NCIGF), has been selected to serve as chair of the International Forum of Insurance Guarantee Schemes (IFIGS).
IFIGS facilitates and promotes international cooperation between insurance guarantee schemes and other stakeholder organizations with an interest in policyholder protection.
Schmelzer, who served as IFIGS secretary for the past year, will be joined on the IFIGS Management and Support committees by representatives from Canada, Chinese Taipei, Germany, Greece, Korea, Kenya, Romania, Singapore, Spain, Thailand and the United Kingdom.
He has represented the United States as a member of IFIGS since 2012, along with Peter Gallanis, president of the National Organization of Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Associations (NOLHGA), NCIGF’s life and health counterpart.
“Insurance customers, industry and the economy are best served when the insurance promise is secured,” said Schmelzer in a statement announcing his election as chair. “I’m enthusiastic about working with our global partners to further advance that objective.”
An international platform will elevate the U.S. guaranty system’s value to domestic solvency regulators, he added. “This is timely because the NAIC is undertaking its own initiatives that could affect the U.S. system,” he said. “The broader our expertise, the more impactful we can be on behalf of the state guaranty funds, the carriers who belong to the state associations and, most importantly, to individual policyholders and claimants.”
The IFIGS is made up of 25 full and associate members, 22 of which are Insurance Guarantee Schemes (IGS) from Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. There are more than 30 IGS worldwide.
IGS protect policyholders of insurance companies that fail. Many IGS provide expertise in stabilization or restructuring resolutions, and all IGS can provide expertise and some form of insurance protection and/or financial support to assist in the liquidation of an insolvent insurer.
Schmelzer noted the efforts of the NCIGF and NOLHGA as part of IFIGS have already made a difference, citing recent changes to international regulatory drafts that underscore the primacy of policyholder protection, the importance of pre-insolvency cooperation, collaboration between the guaranty system and regulators, as well as clearing up any misconceptions that a guaranty association could spread financial risk.
NCIGF and NOLHGA will host the IFIGS annual conference in late 2019.