Notices of companies’ obligations to comply with the Patriot Act will be sent to insurers by their domiciliary insurance departments and in many cases will be posted on department Web sites.
The Patriot Act becomes law on April 24, with an accompanying regulation expected to be released by the United States Department of the Treasury by October 26. The Act, put in place after Sept. 11, addresses terrorism and money-laundering activities.
The bulletin adopted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners on April 10, addresses two sections of the act: Section 352 which establishes company safeguards such as compliance procedures, and Section 326 which is a “know your customer rule” that requires verifying customers’ identities.
During a discussion among regulators, it was noted that producers might be included under the law but at the present time it is not certain how they will be included.
There was general agreement among regulators that the announcement would be sent to companies and not to agents.
Regulators also adopted the Standards for Safeguarding Customer Information model regulation which seeks to satisfy requirements in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 giving insurance regulators the responsibility of making sure that companies safeguard consumers’ private information. It was stressed that it was important for states to attempt to make the model effective in their states as quickly as possible because last year the General Accounting Office had criticized the time it had taken to develop the model for privacy protection.
A discussion among regulators also indicated that there was sufficient support for the NAIC to send an amicus brief supporting agent groups who have filed suit in West Virginia over the right of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to preempt state laws affecting the ability of a bank to sell insurance.
Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, April 15, 2002. Copyright 2002 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.