In my daily ration of news alerts, I got this consumer alert from the Ohio Department of Insurance. As you can see for yourself, it’s a pretty concise rundown of what retained asset accounts are, what they mean to the consumer and why it’s important for folks to educate themselves on them. I have to commend the Ohio DOI for putting this up as a matter of public education, however, it would have been nice to see the state – and all others, by the way – do this two or three weeks ago when the furor over RAAs was at a fever pitch, rather than now, when the controversy seems to have flamed out for the moment.
The entire flap over RAAS really took a lot of people by surprise, and understandably so. Here we had a common industry practice that nobody was really complaining about until Bloomberg ran an article in late July that painted the entire practice with a pretty sticky brush. A firestorm of controversy ignited soon thereafter with regulators announcing industry probes, companies announcing they’d work with the regulators, and well, you know the rest. You’ve probably either been in the middle of this or been watching it from the sidelines since it began.
As a journalist, events like this are a good thing, as it gives us lots to write about, as we did here, here and here in our coverage of the issue. But as I opined about this in a recent print edition of NUL, this is all a lot of thunder and very little lightning, as my dear grandfather used to say. And the large amount of feedback I got from that op-ed showed me that people in the industry are rightly distressed at how fast a non-issue became a point of crisis for an entire industry.