States’ standards for insurance producer fingerprinting and education standards continue to vary widely, officials say.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Washington, has released data on producer licensing uniformity in a report to members on the results of state assessments by the NAIC/Industry Producer Licensing Coalition, which includes both regulators and insurance industry representatives.

The coalition has been organizing efforts to bring outside regulators and industry representatives together with the regulators in charge of producer licensing in specific states, to offer licensing officials help with moving toward reciprocity and uniformity.

Coalition members compiled data through mid-March.

There were 98 instances of a state or other jurisdiction adopting the national standard in the past year, but many differences remain, officials write in a report summarizing the coalition’s findings.

Tennessee Insurance Commissioner Leslie Newman, chair of the NAIC/Industry Producer Licensing Coalition, says the coalition found states have achieved an overall 84% licensing uniformity and reciprocity compliance rate.

The improvement in the compliance rate since February 2008 “means the process is working as designed,” Newman says.

Some national standards, such as a standard requiring the minimum age for agents to be 18, have attracted total or almost total compliance.

For other standards, the compliance gap is shrinking but still wide.

In mid-March, in the area of pre-licensing education training standards, for example, 19 states were still not complying with the national standard for number of hours required, down from 23 in February 2008, according to the assessment team.

The assessment team found that 23 states were still non-compliant with respect to standards for continuing education credit requirements, although that was down from 29 a year earlier.

The number of states not complying with the fingerprinting standard was 36, down from 39 a year earlier.

In some cases, the authors of the report accompanying the chart write, the lack of uniformity reflects disagreements about the standards.

Producers with licenses in two or more states may have different perspectives than their trade associations, the authors of the report write.

“For example,” the authors write, “producers active at the local level frequently opposed eliminating or re-defining lines of authority due to the administrative adjustments involved, but national trade associations often voiced concern about inefficiencies resulting from inconsistencies among lines of authority available from state to state.”