The New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) amended Insurance Regulation 187 (Reg 187) to increase the scope of both suitability standards and consumer disclosures, and producer and insurer accountability in the sale of both life insurance and annuity sales. Reg 187 includes enhanced definitions for customer best interests practices, as well as product recommendations made both during the sales process and after a policy is in force, and requires insurers to create internal procedures to recognize and prevent the financial exploitation of senior consumers.
Carrier and producer sales practices must prioritize customer’s interest over sales commissions and should not allow compensation to influence a product or transaction recommendation.
Why was Reg 187 put in place?
Reg 187, entitled, “Suitability and Best Interests in Life Insurance and Annuity Transactions,” establishes standards of conduct for broker-dealers, and registered representatives licensed in New York who sell life insurance and annuity products to act in a competent and trustworthy manner towards all consumers, keeping their best interests ahead of personal remuneration for any new or in-force transactions.
What needs to be done to be in compliance?
The regulation applies to licensees authorized to transact life insurance and/or annuity business, and requires training on Reg 187 specifics to be completed within the following time frames:
As related to annuity contract sales and in-force transactions beginning August 1, 2019
As related to life insurance policy sales and in-force policy transactions beginning February 1, 2020
Producers in New York who hold non-resident licenses in any other state should be aware that completion of Regulation 187 training DOES NOT meet the NAIC Model’s definition of “substantially similar” annuity suitability training; and therefore, DOES NOT satisfy non-resident annuity suitability training required in any other state.
What does the training cover?
Best Interest Standard clarifications
Only the consumer’s interest can be considered—HOWEVER—the receiving of compensation itself does not violate the standard
Agent compensation can vary as long as recommendations are not affected
Created two Suitability Standards
Recommendations for a term life insurance product with no cash value
Recommendations for any other type of policy
Created two Standards for Insurer and Producer Duties
Is the recommendation for a sales transaction?
Is the recommendation for an in-force transaction?
Added a new requirement if both fee-based and commission-based versions of a policy are available
Disclosure to client - Suitability based on products available to the producer
Use of certain titles or designations - Producers cannot use titles such as “financial planner” or “financial advisor” unless properly licensed or certified for their use and the producer actually provides securities or other non-insurance financial services
Recognition of Diminished Capacity to avoid Financial Exploitation
Who is responsible for Reg 187 compliance?
Insurers—including fraternal benefit societies—have a duty and obligation to establish standards and procedures for recommendations to consumers, with respect to policies delivered or issued for delivery in New York, so that transactions defined in the Regulation are in the best interest of that consumer and appropriately address the insurance needs and financial objectives of the consumer at the time of the transaction.
A.D. Banker & Company offers 2 courses for insurance CE credit:
Life & Annuity Best Interests-Reg 187 (submitted to DFS for approval [1-hour])
NY Annuity and Life Insurance Suitability (4-hours)
An additional course is available for training without CE credit and offers NY licensees access to the same content as the 1-hour CE training, but is NOT subject to the same NY Approved Monitor requirements as courses submitted for CE credit. This option, REG 187 Best Interests, does not require a 50-question final exam, but it can still be monitored in CE Tracking. Please contact customer service or your Account Manager for more information.