A major annuity manufacturer says it will be improving the way it handles advertising, new business processing and consumer complaints in Wisconsin.
Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, Golden Valley, Minn., a unit of Allianz S.E., Munich, says it already has started or will start remedial measures in response to a market conduct report released by the Wisconsin Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
“All required remedial actions and a detailed explanation of all corrective actions taken in response to the recommendations will be submitted to OCI within 90 days of the date of the order,” Rebecca Huerta, Allianz Life compliance senior director, writes in a letter to the Wisconsin insurance office Bureau of Market Regulation.
Wisconsin officials note in their market conduct exam report that the report describes the results of a targeted, on-site exam conducted in July 2005.
Allianz Life was the second largest writer of annuities in Wisconsin in 2004, with a 7.6% share of the annuity market and $335 million in Wisconsin annuity considerations, officials write.
The Wisconsin insurance office received 16 complaints against Allianz Life in 2003 and 23 complaints in 2004, officials write.
About 75% of the complaints involved individual annuities, and “many … alleged misrepresentation and unsuitability,” officials write.
Insurance office investigators ended up making 11 recommendations for improving company operations after reviewing the company’s files.
Wisconsin officials call for Allianz Life to:
- Make guaranteed interest rate information more prominent in advertisements that discuss specific rates of return.
- Improve monitoring of the quality of the annuity training that agents get from field marketing organizations.
- Strengthen corporate compliance oversight over agent complaints, even when the complaints appear to be minor or an agent has been the target of fewer than 3 “justified” complaints.
- Expand the annuity product suitability form for older consumers, to collect more information to ensure whether an annuity is suitable for the applicant’s needs.
A copy of the findings was given to Allianz Life in November 2007, officials write.
Huerta, in turn, notes that Allianz Life moved in October 2006 to stop using advertisements that mention a specific rate of return.
In January 2006, Huerta writes, Allianz Life beefed up agent training by adding a Web-based training program.
“Allianz maintains records of those agents who have participated in this training, but reporting on that information is currently a manual process,” Huerta writes. “The company is developing a more robust reporting system, which it anticipates will be functional by the end of the year.”
Allianz Life also is revamping the way it responds to agent complaints, and it added new questions to the product suitability form in December 2006, Huerta writes.