On February 13th, 2020 the NAIC formally adopted a model “best interest” regulation which will impact distribution of annuity products. FACC anticipates states will begin adopting this regulation in coming months and both carriers and agents will need to adjust to new compliance requirements that go beyond suitability.
The new model regulation requires agents act in the “best interest” of clients without placing their own or the insurer’s financial interests ahead of client interests. An agent acts in the best interest of the client if the agent satisfies specific obligations regarding care, disclosure, conflict of interest, and documentation. Each obligation is spelled out in the regulation:
- Care: An agent must exercise reasonable diligence, care, and skill to know the client’s situation, understand available options, and recommend options that effectively address the client’s situation, needs, and objectives.
- Disclosure: An agent must disclose scope and terms of the client relationship, whether the agent is authorized to sell certain products, whether the agent sells for one or more insurers, and a description of compensation including the client’s right to request more details about cash compensation.
- Conflict of Interest: An agent must identify and avoid or reasonably manage or disclose conflicts of interest, excluding compensation, such as ownership interest in an insurer.
- Documentation: An agent must make a written record of the recommendation and basis for the recommendation.
Under this new model regulation, an insurer must establish and maintain a system of supervision reasonably designed to achieve compliance by both the insurer and its agents. FACC anticipates that carriers will begin to adopt new procedures and requirements they expect producers to follow. Since, the Model is brand new, most carriers are still analyzing it, however, we will keep you abreast of any new information. Please be sure to sign up for our newsletter!