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More on the IMSA to LIFEC Transition

Yesterday as the vote by the IMSA Board to recommend to the membership that IMSA disband and form a new organization LIFEC was announced, I posted my initial thoughts and questions here.

Later in the day, Alan Prochoroff, Editor and Publisher of Insurance Compliance Insight published quite a long piece in the [September 21, 2010 issue] of that weekly publication. In reading his article, it increased my sense that it will be an uphill climb for LIFEC to establish itself as an information, products and services-based compliance organization. In 2010, it is hard to argue that any of us lack information! My inbox overflows with insurance compliance information that is delivered to my desktop everyday. I generate insurance compliance information as well.

Compliance products and services already compete for my business. Many vendors of insurance products and services will be with me at the AICP conference in a couple of weeks. There we will be a group of insurance compliance professionals and companies offering information, products and services on insurance compliance. Are there needs that none of us attending or in the Exhibit Hall can fill? I don’t think so.

In the announcement of LIFEC, IMSA declared success in establishing a culture of compliance within companies that did not exist when IMSA was originally formed. That culture of compliance has been nurtured by many organizations: trade associations, professional associations, law and actuarial firms, consulting practices, information technology companies and Insurance Departments themselves, most of which have websites that provide vast amounts of information. Today’s challenge is not a lack of information, products or services on compliance issues.

One thing that was particularly interesting to me in Mr. Prochoroff’s piece was a quote from Don Walters, IMSA’s Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, that LIFEC will look to best practices in industries other than the life insurance industry and he refers specifically to the defense industry and how ethics are tied to cost controls in procurement. Walters is also quoted as saying that LIFEC will respond to a broad range of topics such as social media that go beyond the narrow focus of life and annuities. This seems to go off in a totally different direction from one that is designed for an organization called the “Life Insurers’ Forum for Ethics and Compliance.” While of course there are things that can be learned from other industries, each operates under so unique a regulatory framework, it is hard to see a great deal of value for life insurers coming from studying defense industry procurement rules and how they relate to ethics. But if LIFEC is going to use a multi-industry approach, that does have the potential for being a unique niche.

In the new structure there will be affiliate memberships for law firms and consultants. As potential affiliate member of LIFEC I will be looking for that focus - a clear statement of what I can get from LIFEC that I can’t get anywhere else. I have been paying dues to IMSA as a Qualified Independent Assessor. I am hoping to see information from LIFEC that would help me make a decision about whether LIFEC should remain in my 2011 budget as IMSA was.