This story has been updated to reflect the signing of the bill.
President Donald Trump has signed a bill that could push many financial professionals to get elder financial abuse reporting training.
The financial abuse training provision is part of the new Dodd-Frank Act change bill — S. 2155, the “Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act” bill.
Members of the House voted 258-159 for S. 2155 Tuesday.
Members of the Senate voted 67-31 to pass the same bill in March. The president has supported the bill, and he signed it in the Oval Office on Thursday.
Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, in response to lawmakers’ horror at the Great Recession of 2008. The S. 2155 sections getting the most attention would free small and midsize banks from many of the Dodd-Frank bank oversight rules.
The package also includes two other, unrelated sections of interest to life insurers, and to life insurance agents.
Section 211, the “International Insurance Capital Standards Accountability Act” provision, will affect U.S. trade negotiators’ ability to enter into international insurance trade deals.
Section 303, the “Senior Safe Act” provision, will provide safeguards for life insurance agents and others who report possible cases of financial exploitation.
Insurance Capital Standards Accountability Act
This section requires U.S. international trade negotiators to “achieve consensus positions with state insurance regulators” before agreeing to international insurance regulatory deals.
U.S. life insurers have been happier with recent insurance trade deals than property-casualty casualty insurers.
Like the property-casualty insurers, life insurers and the American Council of Life Insurers have supported the idea of requiring U.S. trade negotiators to work with state insurance regulators before signing international insurance agreements. But some players on the life insurance side appear to be concerned that the “achieve consensus” phrase is unclear and might block deals with broad support as well the more controversial deals.
Senior Safe Act
This provision could help life insurance agents and others report suspicions of exploitation of people ages 65 and older in the 50 United States, in the District of Columbia, or in any territory or possession of the United States.
Trained financial professionals who made disclosures related to financial exploitation suspicions in good faith, and with “reasonable care,” will be shielded against “any civil or administrative proceeding” related to the disclosures.
An insurer or insurance agency that wants to let affiliate agents report suspicions of elder financial abuse will have to offer the financial professionals training on financial exploitation reporting.
The organization providing the training program will have to make the training materials available for inspection by regulators.
It appears that financial professionals can use training received before S. 2155 becomes law to meet the financial exploitation training requirement.
Dirk Kempthorne, the outgoing president of the American Council of Life Insurers, welcomed congressional passage of both the international standards act and the elder exploitation reporting provision.
He noted that Republicans worked with Democrats to get both provisions through Congress.
“The Senior Safe Act will help protect America’s seniors from financial exploitation,” Kempthorne said. “The Senior Safe Act improves the ability of companies to work with regulators to protect seniors from losing their retirement savings.”
The international standards act will help by making sure that insurance regulators have a seat at the table when trade negotiators are participating in international forums, Kempthorne said.
Lee Covington of the Insured Retirement Institute also put out a statement welcoming passage of the Senior Safe Act provision.
“Through increased education and awareness of the signs and symptoms of exploitation, the Senior$afe Act will empower and encourage financial professionals to report suspected cases of exploitation to law enforcement and other appropriate governmental agencies, thereby helping to prevent older investors from becoming victims,” Covington said in his statement.
— Related, on ThinkAdvisor:
- 3 Ways the Senate Dodd-Frank Bill Could Affect Agents
- 3 Ways Training Can Prevent Elder Financial Abuse
- Insurance Trade Negotiation Bill May Split Industry o