Debt, Budget and the Workhorses of Congress
As we introduced last month, The Council’s government affairs team has launched a new podcast to bring you interviews with members of Congress and updates on insurance industry advocacy priorities.
The following Q&A is a condensed version of a podcast with Rep. Jake Auchincloss taped at The Council offices March 29. Auchincloss is a second-term member of Congress and former product development expert at both a Fortune 100 insurance company and a cybersecurity startup.
Yeah, there’s a number of phenomena at play here in that question. Number one, Hakeem Jeffries is just a pro. And he’s going to work with his counterparts to do what’s right for the country, because that’s how he operates. I think we’re seeing in him just a dynamic leader who has the confidence of the Democratic caucus and who is going to be a major power player in Washington for a long time to come.
Number two, I think embedded in your question is just the reality that what people see on cable news and click through on social media isn’t emblematic of Washington; its emblematic of the 10 to 20% of members of Congress who are on the fringes, who attract a lot of eyeballs and clicks because their antics fuel and outrage… And unfortunately, that distracts from a lot of the work that we’re trying to get done here in Congress. I don’t work with the performers. I work with the workhorses, and there is potential for us to get big things done as a country.
But here’s the third issue that ultimately requires Kevin McCarthy to stand up to his extreme MAGA flank. The Democrats are obviously a diverse kaleidoscopic party, but we share a lot of common values, first and foremost that we believe in democracy. OK, the Republican Party right now has an entire wing that’s increasingly authoritarian. And if Kevin McCarthy doesn’t have the moral courage to stand up to his hard right flank, no amount of text messaging with Hakeem Jeffries is going to save him.
First of all, I see such a positive role for the insurance industry to play in creating a market for cybersecurity products and services. I worked in cybersecurity for a couple of years at a startup. [A] big challenge that products and services have is that they’re selling into this idea of you do everything right in terms of protecting yourself, and it’s hard to prove the value of that. What insurance can do is create a market for products and services for cybersecurity by adjusting premiums based on their risk posture for cyber attacks. The insurance industry over the last five years has done a superb job of that. They have really stepped up to the plate with data-driven underwriting, with a much more sophisticated understanding of especially enterprise cyber risk profiles, and then working with their customers to reduce that risk and to manage hazards better through the adoption of new tools and products.
So the insurance industry is doing what it does best and uniquely, creating a market for protection. So coming from 2014, 2015, when I was a product manager at cybersecurity companies to today, I actually feel really good about the progress this country has made. I know a lot of insurance execs will still say that there’s tremendous, tremendous underinsurance out there for cyber exposure, which I’m sure is true, and, two, that there’s still not enough data and experience to fully underwrite cyber effectively, but we’ve made a lot of progress.