A state insurance commissioners' working group is targeting the summer for completion of its long-delayed “policy overview” summary to accompany life insurance sales.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners' big Summer Meeting takes place Aug. 3-6 in New York City. Its Life Insurance Illustration Issues working group is down to the fine details of its policy overview charge.
Designed to “enhance consumer understanding,” the two-page summary proposal has been in the works for more than three years.
During a previous conference call, the group agreed to require distribution of a policy overview in tandem with the buyer's guide on all life insurance policies. Policies without an illustration will also include a premium and benefit pattern summary.
Jodi Lerner, attorney for the California Insurance Department, isn't so sure that timing is right.
“I’ve never seen a situation where a buyer’s guide was provided prior to the time of policy delivery," Lerner said during a Thursday conference call. "People are not going to receive this until they receive the policy and it’s just going to be one more piece of paper that they’re not going to look at."
Chairman Richard Wicka, deputy chief legal counsel for the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, said the group has a very narrow scope of responsibility.
"My concern has always been is that we’re dealing with one limited charge, and if we change it to dealing with the delivery requirement, we’re getting outside our lane," he explained.
Other working group members are welcome to petition the oversight A Committee for an expanded charge dealing with the delivery of the policy overview, Wicka added.
In another minor matter, Birny Birnbaum asked the group to limit the personal information included with the policy overview.
"We don’t think there’s a need for date of birth and, for that matter, we son’t think there's a need for a name," he said. "We’d like to remove as much personal identification from this as possible, so the consumer doesn’t have to worry" about privacy issues.
Michael Lovendusky, vice president and associate general counsel for the American Council of Life Insurers, said members from his group are fine with limiting personal information.
The working group will accept written public comments on the policy overview until June 21, Wicka said.
“We’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and where we’re headed is I think in the direction of some consumer friendly changes,” he added.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton has covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @INNJohnH.
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