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9 Things to Know About a New Regulator Group That Might Like You

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A new state insurance regulator panel, the Retirement Security Working Group, is set to have its first public conference call meeting at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time Wednesday.

The working group is part of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Life Insurance and Annuities Committee.

The working group is supposed to “explore ways to promote retirement security consistent with the NAIC’s continuing ‘Retirement Security Initiative,’” according to the group’s official charges.

If you sell annuities or life insurance-based savings arrangements to retirement savers, you too are trying to promote your clients’ retirement security. In theory, that means that you and the working group could have at least some goals in common.

The NAIC is a Kansas City, Missouri-based group for state insurance regulators. It has no direct authority to set insurance rules, but states often start with NAIC’s models when developing insurance laws, regulations and procedures. In some cases, states arrange to have certain NAIC measures, such as technical changes in insurance accounting rules, apply automatically.

Here are seven things to know about the new working group, for agents and brokers.

1. The NAIC created it in August, at its summer meeting in New York.

Stephen Taylor, the insurance commissioner for the District of Columbia, told members of the Life Insurance and Annuities Committee that starting a working group would help the NAIC act on an ongoing Retirement Security Initiative.

He said that several other commissioners already wanted to join the working group, and that one thing that the working group could do would be to draft a document describing the challenges facing America’s retirement savers and retirees.

(Related: NAIC Creates a Retirement Security Working Group)

2. The working group has its own section on the NAIC’s website.

The working group’s website section is available here.

The Meeting Materials tab includes a link to the NAIC’s Calendar system. Members of the public can pay to get access to the calls.

3. The working group has eight founding members.

In addition to the District of Columbia, the jurisdictions participating in the working group are Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New York state, Rhode Island, Utah and Washington state.

4. The agenda for the meeting includes a presentation by Vince Shorb of the National Financial Educators Council (NFEC).

NFEC is a financial literacy program provider. The clients listed on its website range from Transamerica to the Salvation Army.

5. The working group could review existing state consumer protection laws.

The working group members and practical constraints will shape what the new working group really does.

Taylor suggested at the NAIC’s summer meeting that the working group might inventory state laws that apply to retirement-related transactions, to identify places where new laws or amendments could enhance consumer protection.

6. The working group could help regulators reach out to consumers.

Taylor suggested that the working group could help develop a public media retirement security campaign, and a retirement security curriculum that could emphasize the importance of saving, minimizing debt, and planning for long-term care expenses.

7. The working group could add to continuing education requirements for agents and brokers.

Taylor said the working group could help develop exam questions for producers in connection with topics such as needs analysis and suitability.

8. The working group could help develop new income planning concepts.

Taylor said the working group could work with another group for regulators, the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Commission, to work with the IIPRC to develop ideas for new lifetime income products.

9. The working group could listen to insurers’ concerns.

Taylor said the working group could help facilitate a forum that would give insurers and other industry participants a chance to talk about topics such as regulatory obstacles.

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