The Iowa Insurance Department Friday substantially loosened its ban on providing gifts to policyholders or prospects.
The department’s original anti-rebate policy had drawn heavy criticism from the insurance industry.
Industry lawyers say that they are still studying the new policy, and caution that it signals that the state’s regulators are taking a hard look at how insurers and producers interpret anti-rebate laws.
And Iowa is not the only state dealing with the issue.
Under Iowa’s revised policy, issued as Bulletin 08-13, agents or insurers “may give inexpensive gifts to prospective or existing customers so long as such gifts are provided on a nondiscriminatory basis and so long as the giving of the gift is not conditioned upon the purchase of a policy of insurance.”
It replaces a bulletin issued June 30 but since rescinded that would have prohibited the offer of any goods or services to a policyholder or prospect that are not specifically included in the policy contract.
Earlier in August, the state’s insurance department backed off the more restrictive policy to allow insurers to continue the long-held tradition of providing giveaway trinkets at the Iowa State Fair, which was held August 7-17.
Industry representatives met Aug. 15 with state Commissioner Susan Voss and department staffers to air their problems with the former rule.