Consumers and Insurers Benefit from Uniform Insurance Product Standards
[Life Insurance 101 Series: This series features IMPACT posts that detail the breadth of the industry’s reach and benefits provided to consumers.]
Most consumers have probably never heard of the Interstate Insurance Compact. Nonetheless, many of them have benefited from it.
This is because the Compact gives individuals faster access to competitive insurance products as well as strong consumer protections through its uniform product standards across most states.
At the same time, insurers, who are state-regulated, are able to obtain greater operational efficiencies and speed-to-market of their products. Instead of having to file and seek approval of their products in every state in which they do business, companies only have to file and seek approval from the Compact once. They can then sell their approved products in the states that have joined the Compact. Since 2007, the Compact has approved more than 8,300 insurance products from more than 300 companies.
The Compact got its start in 2002 when the National Association of Insurance Commissioners developed model legislation that the states could later adopt to join the Compact. To date, 44 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have joined. Most notably, California, New York and Florida have not yet joined, though legislation is pending in New York.
The Compact has adopted over 100 uniform standards relating to four product lines – life insurance, annuities, disability income and long-term care insurance. These standards address not only the underlying policies and contracts and their various benefits and features, but also policy applications, enrollment forms, rate schedules, riders and advertising material.
It continues to develop new, and update existing, product standards, including those pertaining to individual life insurance and group annuities. The American Council of Life Insurers has also recommended the development and adoption of various additional standards.
The Compact is also in the process of drafting a Strategic Plan that would set long-term goals and objectives based on these priorities:
- Developing uniform standards that states will support and companies will use.
- Maintaining a nationally recognized regulatory review process.
- Becoming a resource for compacting states, regulated entities and consumers.
The Compact has a very informative and thorough website. So, to learn more, go to www.insurancecompact.org.