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NAFA “Cautionary Tales: Enforcement Actions from State Insurance Departments” has good advice

The November/December 2013 edition of NAFA’s Annuity Outlook publication has an easy to refer piece on advertising issues. General Counsel Pamela Heinrich consolidates several recent enforcement actions (several from the state of Utah) related to advertising materials into a short series of do’s and don’ts. The list could be taken from the recommendations we make on a daily basis for the ads we review.

So often we get push back from the creators saying that we are being overly rigid in our interpretations and in our concern over these issues. After these several enforcement actions, Ms. Heinrich advises as follows:

Don’t:

  • Exaggerate benefits, particularly by using absolute words like “all” or “unlimited.”
  • Rely on the rules of one state when the piece will be used in multiple states.
  • Exaggerate training or certifications, particularly in the context of senior citizens.

Do:

  • Be clear that a meeting will be with an insurance producer and that it is likely there will be a solicitation for an insurance product.
  • Disclose that an insurance product is involved in all marketing materials.
  • Identify all relevant parties—the carrier and/or the producer—making sure that the identification is consistent with the licensee’s names and addresses on file with the DOIs.
  • Disclose that workshops or similar events are part of the insurance sales process. Ms. Heinrich specifically warns against “bait and switch” at these events, including “meet and greet” events.

We think this is all excellent advice and, as does Ms. Heinrich, we encourage that these tips be kept in mind as marketing material and campaigns are created.