Posted on November 6, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Insured Retirement Institute today issued a statement from Jason Berkowitz, IRI chief legal and regulatory affairs officer, regarding the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) effort to revise its Suitability in Annuity Transactions Model Regulation to hold state-regulated insurance producers to a best interest standard.

“The NAIC engaged in a comprehensive, transparent and inclusive process to revise its Suitability in Annuity Transactions Model. IRI will carefully review the next iteration of this proposal with our members but the overall effort to date appears to achieve a workable best interest standard of conduct and a framework for compliance by producers and insurers. The NAIC effort to enhance the current model in a manner that is consistent with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation Best Interest to the extent possible is the right approach to provide strong consumer protection.

As the proposal moves to the next step of the NAIC process, it now includes IRI-recommended language to provide a safe harbor for all insurance producers who are subject to, and actually comply with, equivalent or greater standards such as Regulation Best Interest or the Investment Advisors Act. This will avoid duplicative compliance requirements for those who already comply with rigorous standards.

IRI acknowledges and is thankful to several state insurance regulators who spearheaded the effort on this model regulation: NAIC Working Group Chair, Jillian Froment, Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance for her leadership in this process; Doug Ommen, Iowa Insurance Commissioner, the Working Group vice chair and chair of the NAIC’s Life Insurance and Annuities (A) Committee, and previous Working Group chair Dean Cameron, Director of the Idaho Department of Insurance, who led the initial work on this effort in 2018.”

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