For a variety of reasons, over the weekend, I spent a fair amount of time thinking about why I do what I do. Much to the surprise of many, I am quite passionate about my work. I was thinking about that in the context of some recent jobs and posts here. I realized several things, none of which are rocket science, but here they are nonetheless:
1) I totally love what I do. I loved it at the NYSID. I loved it when I was in-house. I have found my place. I am happy to get up every morning and go to work, because I love what I do. I am very lucky.
2) I have tremendous respect for the people I work for and with.
3) I love that I am not asked by my clients to cut corners or find ways around the right way.
4) I believe in regulation, not for the sake of regulation, but in effective regulation.
5) I believe in fairness in regulation.
It is this last point that I really spent time working with, in the context of the others in my list. In my opinion, the most important aspect to fairness in regulation is openness, consistency and predictability. I think in many cases it matters less what the rules are, than that the rules are known and change only with advanced warning.
When the rules change without warning—especially if the changes are applied retroactively—it feels unfair. When negative consequences are imposed for acts that were not against the rules when they were done, but at some unknown point in time became so, it feels incredibly unfair. It starts to feel impossible to stay compliant over time because it is impossible to know what the rules are at any given point in time. It is a short step to an attitude of “why should I bother?” “If I can’t succeed, why should I try?” “If I am going to be punished even when I try hard to do things right, why should I try?”
If we as a society want insurance and we want a compliant industry, compliance should be made as easy as possible, given that this is a complicated industry. Insurers should have the best possible chance to be compliant while they are doing what they really do, which is sell insurance.
I think a big part of why I like what I do so much is that I get to give some of that. I get to help make it easier for companies be compliant. I can’t make it easy, but I can make it easier. I get to help keep good, strong, and intelligent people from getting to the point where they don’t think compliance is possible and they stop trying because they can’t figure out what the rules are today. I love that!