Some consumer groups have cited life and annuity agent abuse of professional designations as a major threat to retirement savers.
Few state or territory insurance regulators say they have seen much abuse of financial services credentials in their jurisdictions.
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The Promoting Appropriate Sales Practices in Life Insurance & Annuities Working Group, an arm of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, recently conducted a regulator survey to explore the extent of the problem.
The NAIC is a group for the insurance regulatory agencies in states, the District of Columbia, and territories such as Puerto Rico. It cannot change member jurisdictions change their insurance laws or regulations, but the member jurisdictions often use NAIC models as examples when writing their own laws and regulations.
The current model for regulation of use of professional designations in sales of life insurance and annuity products, Model 278, applies only to use of designations in efforts to sell products to people ages 65 and older. Some consumer groups and regulators have argued that the NAIC should extend the model to cover financial professional abuse of professional designations in sales of products to people under 65.
Regulators in just 24 of the 56 NAIC member jurisdictions sent in completed questionnaires.