Two state departments of insurance are urging insurers to become members of the Insurance Marketplace Standards Association.[@@]

In memos to life insurance, annuity and long term care insurance companies operating in their states, insurance commissioners of both Iowa and North Dakota issued what amounted to an official stamp of approval for IMSA, Washington. The group is a nonprofit organization that sets ethical standards for the marketing of individual insurance products.

Iowa Commissioner Susan Voss also issued a bulletin to all life insurers licensed in the state announcing examiners for the state’s division of insurance will ask specifically whether the companies are members of the IMSA.

“Consideration may be given to the documentation used for compliance with IMSA in determining the frequency of some examinations, the scope of an ongoing examination or other areas to review,” Voss said.

In North Dakota, Insurance Commissioner Jim Poolman sent a letter to insurers stating that his department routinely asks life insurance companies whether they are members of IMSA.

“If a company is a member, the department requests and considers IMSA information in determining the nature and scope of its review,” he wrote. “The department . . . found that the [IMSA] qualification process provides a strong impetus for a life insurance company to develop high standards for its market conduct activities,” wrote Poolman.