September 01, 2015
Part 1: 10 Questions with NIPR's Executive Director, Karen Stakem Hornig
By: Karen Stakem Hornig
Vertafore works closely with the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) as an Authorized Business Partner (ABP) to deliver insurance licensing, appointment, and data reconciliation services. NIPR plays a critical role in implementing uniform electronic services to the insurance industry. Vertafore's relationship with NIPR is unique because we both serve the insurance industry, as well as State regulatory agencies. Karen Stakem Hornig joined NIPR as a new executive director in July 2014. We are thrilled to work with her and her team to continue to improve efficiency in insurance licensing.
1. Please describe NIPR and how it serves the industry and regulators.
The National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) was formed nearly twenty years ago as a unique partnership between State regulators and industry to make the producer licensing process more cost-effective, streamlined, and uniform. As a nonprofit affiliate of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), NIPR serves industry and State regulators by providing an electronic system for moving licensing and appointment transactions between producers and other insurance professionals and State regulators. Additionally, NIPR stores millions of producer records in the Producer Database (PDB) for 54 jurisdictions and makes that data available to industry. Last year, NIPR transmitted more than a half billion dollars in fees to the States and provided customer support to hundreds of thousands of producers.
2. Karen, could you give us some background on yourself and your role with the NIPR?
Prior to joining NIPR, I served as the State of Maryland's Deputy Insurance Commissioner and, in that role, I learned about the producer licensing system. Prior to joining the Maryland Insurance Administration in 2008, I served as Chief Legal Counsel for the Baltimore Police Department. In addition to legal work in both the private and public sectors, I spent eight years in higher education as a senior administrator. As Executive Director of NIPR, I oversee a team of 84 staff members who develop and test software, support State regulators, and support industry customers. I am responsible for day-to-day operations and for strategic, long range planning.
3. Now that you've been in your role for almost a year, please describe your key learnings and unexpected challenges.
When I accepted the position with NIPR in 2014, I was confident that I knew a great deal about producer licensing. I found out very quickly that the producer licensing system is far more complex than I realized. My biggest challenges, as a former regulator, have been developing an understanding of the software development process and developing a plan to scale NIPR's resources to meet increasing demand.
4. How does the NIPR engage with the industry, regulators, and authorized business partners (ABPs) to drive efficiency?
NIPR is a critical asset relied upon every day by agents, brokers, adjustors, carriers, brokerages, agencies, and State regulators. Our job is to ensure that it is a stable and secure asset. The producer licensing system is inherently complex due to the number of license types (resident, nonresident, new, renewal, major lines, core surplus lines, etc.) and the unique State requirements that have to be coded into the system. Through technology, NIPR has been able to make State processes seem more uniform than they are. We are working with industry and regulators to focus upon addressing issues where the lack of uniformity among the States translates into complex and unstable technology.
Stay tuned for Part 2 coming this Thursday, September 3 to learn more about NIPR's future goals and alignment with NARAB II.
Vertafore and the NIPR have been leading strong initiatives towards uniformity and improving licensing and appointment processes. Thank you to Karen Stakem Hornig for sharing her vision, priorities, and thoughts. Vertafore will continue to collaborate closely with the NIPR on important initiatives to improve licensing and appointment processes.
Karen served as the State of Maryland's Deputy Insurance Commissioner where she gained initial knowledge of the producer licensing system. Prior to joining the Maryland Insurance Administration in 2008, she served as Chief Legal Counsel for the Baltimore Police Department. In addition to legal work in both the private and public sectors, she spent eight years in higher education as a senior administrator. As Executive Director of NIPR, she is responsible for day-to-day operations and for strategic, long range planning.