State insurance regulators may ask insurers to adopt policies and controls covering the use of social media by associated entities as well as by the insurers’ own employees.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), Kansas City, Mo., has discussed this proposed recommendation, and others, in a draft white paper posted by the NAIC’s Social Media Working Group on its section of the NAIC’s website.
Drafters state that an insurer will likely be held accountable for social media content posted either to company-sponsored sites or to the sites of affiliated companies. An insurer should consider including a general prohibition on associated sites engaging in business communications via social media venues that are not subject to the insurer’s direct or indirect supervision, drafters say.
Drafters say a”An insurer’s regulatory responsibilities will vary with the type of social media.
“Static content”–content that remains posted and visible until it’s changed by the author or other party–must be “filed, approved, retained and…comport with existing regulatory frameworks vis-?-vis advertising, marketing and consumer-relations,” according to the draft.
Interactive content, such as comments and links posted on a social media site, would not be subject to filing or preapproval requirements. However, insurers would still have to adhere to state-mandated retention and recordkeeping requirements.
Third-party posts to an insurer’s social media site could be attributable to the insurer through the “entanglement theory” if an insurer were involved in preparing the content.
The third-party posts also could be attributable to an insurer through the “”adoption theory” if the insurer explicitly or implicitly endorsed the posts.
Elsewhere in the draft white paper, the drafters recommend that insurers adopt procedures, policies and controls reasonably designed to ensure that their social media communications are accurate and timely. If the communications include product recommendations, the recommendations should be suitable for all recipients or else prohibited, the drafters say.
Insurers should “train associated entities who wish” to use the company’s social media sites prior to permitting their use, the drafters say.