Missouri, Kansas Vie to Be Home to NAIC Headquarters
September 20, 2010 by Sean P. Carr
September 20, 2010 | BestWire Services
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners is entertaining offers with incentives of up to $5 million to relocate within the Kansas City region it has called home for the past 26 years.
State and local officials in both Missouri and Kansas want to lure the NAIC’s central office and its 460 jobs. The Kansas City, Mo., City Council is considering a package of city and state incentives totaling $1.8 million, including a 10-year, 50% reimbursement of city earnings taxes and a development tax credit, to retain the association within the city limits, according to a draft city ordinance.
“There’s a lot of reasons you want to retain good jobs and good employers in your community,” city spokesman Dennis Gagnon said.
Kansas City, Mo., officials fear a potential bid from across the state line. The draft ordinance claims Kansas is preparing tax incentives of its own that could total $5 million over 10 years. Attempts to reach the Kansas Department of Commerce for comment were unsuccessful.
The NAIC has retained a commercial real estate broker and other consultants to identify suitable area locations, spokesman Scott Holeman said in an e-mail. The NAIC will complete its review, including consideration of state and city incentives, and announce a decision in 30 to 60 days, he said. The NAIC’s current lease expires in January 2012.
The NAIC and its affiliates — including the National Insurance Producer Registry and the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Commission — employ 530 people in Kansas City, New York City and Washington, D.C. In addition to its employee base, the NAIC generates economic activity with an average of 20 meetings a year in Kansas City, Holeman said. Staff travel to approximately 80 other meetings in 2009 totaled 820 flights through Kansas City International Airport at a cost of nearly $340,000, he said.
“The Midwest’s strong work ethic and affordable cost of living have provided the association with a strong core of dedicated employees, who serve the nation’s insurance regulators and U.S. insurance consumers,” Holeman said.
Founded in 1871, the NAIC is the oldest association of state officials.
(By Sean P. Carr, Washington Correspondent: email@example.com)