If you want to be entertained for a while, buy me a drink and ask me my opinion on regulation within our industry. For some reason, regulators believe that the best way to ensure customers are protected is to create more paper. I believe you can't regulate ethics. You either have them or you don't. No amount of extra paper will change that.
Now that I've got that off my chest, I want to bring you up to speed on something that directly affects your livelihood. If you sell annuities, you've probably heard rumblings about NAIC and product training. Although I don't think it's remotely possible to make the subject clear, I'll try to at least give you a place to start.
First of all, this discussion just refers to insurance licensed annuity producers. If you are also securities licensed, the same rules apply but with overlying FINRA and broker/dealer requirements.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has adopted "model" regulations in many areas over the years - replacement, suitability, etc. The most recent model regulation regards annuity product training. Under this model, all carriers who do business in states who have adopted the model law will be required to provide and verify that an agent has completed this training prior to soliciting an application. Be aware that:
- Not all states have adopted the model regulation. Those that have (referred to as NAIC states) each have their own guidelines and requirements for producers. To check the current status of your state, follow this link to a national map.
- Be aware that continuing education and product training are two completely different issues. Also, if you are an Annexus producer, the webinar product training you completed as part of your contracting process does not waive your requirement for Aviva sponsored product training. To complete this, login to the Aviva agent web site and click on the link in the upper left corner:
- You should find similar links on every carrier web site.
- Product training must be completed for every annuity product you sell prior to making the sale. Carriers are required to return applications taken prior to completed training.
- If a new product is released new training is required.
- If you do business in multiple states, you will probably be required to repeat the process for each state in which you do business.
- A good resource is the National Association for Fixed Annuities (NAFA) website - www.nafa.com.
Carriers are scrambling to comply with the moving target and as of now there are still a lot of questions. What should you do now?
- Determine all the states in which you do business and which ones require product specific training.
- Log in to each carrier web site and follow the directions to complete training. Some states require the training today - others have a grace period to complete the training.
- Talk with your carriers. Be sure you know what is required.
- Stay tuned. New states are coming on line regularly. Know your requirements or risk having business returned.