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Maine.gov > PFR Home > Insurance Regulation > Producer Services > Top 10 Compliance Tips for Insurance Producers
Top 10 Compliance Tips for Insurance Producers
1. Be complete and accurate in your license filings
When applying for a license or an added authority in Maine or in another state, you should pay careful attention to the application’s questions. In particular, the disclosure items must be reported fully and accurately. Matters such as past or pending convictions or administrative matters (including consent agreements), for example, must be disclosed and explained. If a matter is not disclosed voluntarily, the nondisclosure issue itself could lead to disciplinary action based upon filing a false or incomplete application. Your signature or attestation on the application certifies that you have provided complete and accurate information. When in doubt, disclose.
2. Keep your license information current
New disclosable events must be reported within 30 days. Any other information in your original application file that changes also needs to be updated within 30 days. As with the failure to disclose information in the original application, compliance issues can develop when licensees fail to keep their license records up to date.
3. Keep your address up to date
Your business address is the one which the Bureau needs in order to reach you, whether for specific communications that might occur in individual cases, or routine mailings concerning matters such as continuing education due dates. It is very unfortunate when a licensee fails to receive such mailings and further issues develop, which can even ultimately include loss of the license, simply because he or she neglected to keep an up to date business address on file with the Bureau of Insurance. Remember that it is the individual licensee’s personal responsibility to notify the Bureau, in writing, concerning any change of address or contact information.
4. Keep accurate records
Remember that under the Insurance Code, producers must retain records for three years after completion of a transaction. The records must include at least the following information: name of insurer, name and address of insured, policy number, premium payable, expiration date of policy, date and time of all binders. The information must be made available to the Superintendent upon request.
5. Understand the applicable laws
You should be familiar with the insurance laws, especially those relating to sales practices, such as advertising, misrepresentation, and rebating. You should also be familiar with the laws and regulations that concern the particular products you offer. For example, specific standards apply to the sales of annuities, and to the replacement of products. Using part of your continuing education requirement to periodically refresh your knowledge of these laws can be a good idea.
6. Know your product, and your company’s underwriting guidelines
This is one of the prime aspects of your due diligence obligations as a licensed professional. The legal availability of a product in the marketplace is only part of the question. Which product is right for your client? In addition, does the client’s situation meet the company’s underwriting guidelines? These questions can only be answered through familiarity with the product’s features and the company’s procedures.
7. Know your customer
Understanding your client’s specific situation and needs is essential to helping that client get the necessary insurance protection that it’s your role to provide, as well as assuring that you have met your responsibilities in relation to that client.
8. Use your company’s compliance department as a resource
“An ounce of prevention ....” When in doubt about a question concerning a product’s features, underwriting guidelines, or other compliance matters, remember that the insurer’s sales support and compliance staff are available as important resources.
9. Be proactive
Laws and regulations will change at times. You will be at an advantage if you keep up to date with what is occurring. Good sources of information include State websites, as well as many professional journals and professional associations.
Being proactive can take other forms as well. For example, insurance clients should not be left in the dark about your means of compensation, especially if there are any sales bonuses or promotions relating to the products you offer. There is other information that the careful producer makes sure the client knows, such as the underwriting periods in personal Property & Casualty Insurance before the protections of the Cancellation Control Acts will apply, or the “free look” provisions in the Life Insurance context.
The more information you have about your products and the applicable laws, and the more information you provide to your clients, the more you should be able to avoid compliance issues.
10. Use the Bureau of Insurance and its website as a resource
While Bureau staff cannot offer advice regarding particular products or companies, staff is available to answer many questions concerning the operation of the Maine Insurance Code. The Maine Bureau of Insurance number is (207) 624-8475. Questions about specific licensing procedures may be directed to Pamela Roybal at (207) 624-8408 and by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, the Bureau’s website contains a wealth of valuable information, including links to the Maine Insurance Code, Bureau Regulations, and Bulletins. This can be an excellent starting place for keeping up to date on current developments. The address for the Bureau’s website is http://www.maine.gov/pfr/insurance. Producers may also find it helpful to check the specific link to Frequently Asked Questions.
Last Updated: April 22, 2013
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