Newport, Rhode Island

The National Conference of Insurance Legislators sidestepped the controversy about the proposed “term life only” agent license.

Members of NCOIL, Troy, N.Y., voted here at the group’s summer meeting to address the matter by looking at solutions for improving service to the underinsured life insurance market.

Some companies, including the Primerica unit at Citigroup Inc., New York, say creating a special license for agents who sell only term life insurance would improve service to middle-income and low-income consumers. Term-only proposal supporters say those middle-income and low-income consumers are of little interest to traditional life insurers. Proposal supporters say traditional life insurers now focus on selling to wealthy individuals.

When the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo., held its summer meeting, the Market Regulation and Consumer Affairs “D” Committee advanced a resolution opposing a limited term license. The resolution had been adopted at the “D” Committee’s Producer Licensing Working Group but stalled in “D” after Rep. Shirley Bowler, R-78th District-La., and others challenged the measure.

Bowler, an NCOIL member, was unable to persuade her fellow NCOIL legislators of the merits of that proposal. A watered-down substitute was approved at the last minute.

“I would have liked to see the term-only life license passed,” Bowler said.

The NCOIL resolution recommends that a study will compare all proposed solutions for helping underserved consumers, and it says that, ultimately, each state has to find a solution for its own residents.

NCOIL’s resolution calls for legislators to examine all options to provide life insurance to the underserved