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Will IMSA become LIFEC?

As a Qualified Independent Assessor for IMSA, I was very interested in the article by Ron Panko  in the September 2010 issue of Best’s Review with the lead in:  “Dwindling IMSA membership and an optional way to renew certification lessens demand for independent assessors.”

Today I received a courtesy call from IMSA, which was much appreciated, in advance of a [press release] announcing the proposed development of a new association: The Life Insurers’ Forum for Ethics and Compliance (LIFEC). According to the press release, quoting Don Walters: “Today, virtually all companies have significant compliance teams, and are meeting regulatory requirements, but there is still a need for leadership on the constantly evolving issues of ethics and compliance.” The release seems to declare mission accomplished for IMSA and therefore the need for a new entity to go forward.

As a result, the IMSA Board of Directors has recommended establishing LIFEC. A vote of IMSA members will take place and the press release indicates the results will be announced at the annual meeting on October 19, 2010. The release concludes with the statement that: “IMSA will continue to add value for its members through webinars, Summit Meetings and other compliance solution activities in 2010.

It appears that being certified is no longer going to be a requirement for membership in IMSA and that membership is likely to be open to companies who elect to join.   Certification is expected to remain an option and the standards will be maintained, according to the call I received, but certification will not be mandatory.  The release indicates that LIFEC will be focused on meeting the needs of compliance professionals. It will be interesting to see if LIFEC can carve out a role for itself among the compliance organizations already in existence.