Healthcare costs and growth prospects for the state's insurance industry were the focus of a pre-legislative session forum in Hartford December 19.
Hosted by State Sen. Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford), the Insurance Roundtable addressed a number of critical issues for Connecticut and its employers.
Kelly assembled a panel of insurance experts and healthcare policy representatives from the public and private sectors, including CBIA Assistant Counsel Jennifer Herz.
Topics included specific ways to support Connecticut’s insurance industry.
In particular, panelists focused on our talent pool of insurance experience and the need to continue cultivating that skill base.
The insurance sector, like other industries encountering a skills gap with retirements, must work with the next generation of students to bridge that gap, panelists concluded.
The panel also discussed the importance of Connecticut getting its budget in order and supporting a predictable and consistent fiscal policy.
Panelists included Hugh Barrett, assistant vice president of government relations at Mass Mutual; Eric George, president of the Insurance Association of Connecticut; Thomas Hodson, president of the Connecticut Captive Insurance Association; Andrew Markowski, National Federation of Independent Businesses; Keith Stover, Robinson+Cole, and Connecticut Association of Health Plans; James Waldeigh, CEO of Access Health CT; and Rick Willard, NFIB member and a health insurance broker.
State lawmakers can look to Connecticut’s insurance leaders, who are based just steps from the Capitol, to share their vast knowledge and understanding of the industry.
However, that proximity also means insurance executives are acutely aware of the bills proposed by Connecticut’s legislators.
The panel emphasized the need to support entrepreneurship in the insurance industry, and foster an environment where new ideas are encouraged and given room to grow.
During a discussion of healthcare costs, Herz identified mandates, taxes, and fees that add to already expensive premiums.
Reducing the cost drivers of healthcare insurance premiums can bring welcome relief to middle-class families.
Herz and others also cited the importance of educating the public about healthcare and health insurance.
Kelly, current chair of the legislature's Insurance and Real Estate Committee, said he plans to continue the conversation and work with stakeholders to address concerns in the upcoming legislative session, which begins Jan. 4.
“As legislators we often have the opportunity to discuss our ideas and ways in which we can improve our state,” Kelly said.
“Today was the first step in listening to how the insurance industry thinks we can do better as it relates to healthcare costs and job creation.
"What I heard today is that there is state-based action that we can take to help reduce the cost drivers of insurance premiums, which may bring welcome relief to the hard-working middle-class families of Connecticut.”