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#FridayFreebies

Did you know we have FREE resources available right on our home page and through our online education portal? WE DO!

There are tips and white papers and samples…oh my! Take a look at our FREE Downloads section and scroll down further to check out our online education and training courses. There are some freebies listed there, too. It’s quick and easy to explore our online education portal. Drop us a line at info@currincompliance.com or call (518) 692-2494 if you have any questions or would like some help with your compliance needs.

How to gain compliance buy-in!

Currin Compliance Services, Inc.

Getting compliance buy-in isn’t always easy. Your company could have the highest compliance standards in the world, but if you can’t get the message heard effectively, then it won’t move your company ahead.

So what can you do? A lot, actually! Having a communication plan in place can help your company become raving fans of the compliance department. Here are six steps to help get you started:

  1. Determine Your Goal: Really think through what you’re trying to achieve – make it clear and specific. Defining your goal is the basis of determining your communication strategy.

  2. Understand Your Audience: Along with your goal, you need to understand who you’re speaking to. Often those in compliance aren’t “speaking the same language” as their audience and that contributes to the feeling that compliance isn’t in touch with others. Find out what motivates your audience and what their needs are. Connect your compliance message to how it helps them achieve their goals.

  3. Evaluate Readiness and Need: Next figure out how ready your audience is for the communication, and what the level of need is for the communication. The higher the readiness, the more easily you’ll get buy in. If readiness is lower, determine what the most important issues are to communicate and start there.

  4. Review Current Resources: Are there key individuals you can bring in to help get greater buy-in? Think of those with decision-making abilities or those who influence the decision makers. Leverage these individuals to help spread your message to others. Also, look for what’s already in place and working well – then build off that. Keep this motto in mind: “Grow the seeds, not the weeds!”

  5. Select Content: Use materials that speak to your company’s overall tone and culture. Continue to show how your compliance message is in line with your company’s goals. Don’t be afraid to be creative. Breaking down the information into bite-sized pieces, rather than a long, technical presentation, can help with engagement and retention. Think about using things like role-play scenarios, games, and cartoons/animation in the delivery of your message. Whenever possible, get face-to-face with your audience. While shooting off some e-mails may feel like it’s saving you time, or giving you some space from a difficult conversation, talking in person usually ends up being more productive.

  6. Develop Schedule: Chances are, your target audience is receiving messages from lots of different areas – both internally, and perhaps even externally. As you develop a communication plan, find out what your target audience is already receiving. Check to make sure there aren’t mixed messages or conflicting information. If possible, you may be able to synch up your communications with other information your target audience is receiving. This will help reduce information-overload, and help you be even more effective in your communication delivery.

Disclosure Requirements for Non-illustrated Products

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There often is a bit of confusion concerning the disclosure requirements for non-illustrated products.

This requirement comes in part from NY Section 3209. This section calls for preliminary information (see 3209(d) for requirements) to be provided at or before the time of application. Then a policy summary (see 3209(e) for requirements) is required at or before the time of policy delivery.

However, 3209(l) then goes on to say:

‘(l) An insurer of any life insurance policy or annuity contract subject to this section shall notify the superintendent whether its policies or contract forms have been or will be marketed with or without an illustration.  

For those policies and contracts marketed with an illustration which complies with the regulations promulgated pursuant to subsection (k) of this section, no preliminary information or policy summary shall be required.

For those policies that are not marketed with an illustration, the preliminary information and policy summary shall be provided pursuant to the provisions of this section.’

Now, here’s where things get messy for non-illustrated products. Preliminary Information & the Policy Summary must be provided. These include projections on a current basis. But NY Regulation 74 indicates that any depiction of non-guaranteed elements to be an illustration. But the product is supposed to be non-illustrated. And now we are going around in the dreaded compliance circle.

To allow for non-illustrated products to exist in NY, the Department has taken the position that as long as the Preliminary Information & the Policy Summary show only the non-guaranteed elements required by 3209 (and 53-2.1 & 53-22 for UL type policies) then these would not be considered illustrations within the meaning of Regulation 74.

Again, a bit messy.

Confused about designing annuities in NY?

If the answer is yes, then our Demystifying NYS Annuity Nonforfeiture course is your go-to source. This course will teach you everything you need to know about NYS nonforfeiture law and what you need to do to design a product that complies.

This course, authored by Tom Hartman, Senior Compliance Actuary (formerly with NYSDFS), clarifies the requirements in detail so you know exactly which product designs will and will not work.

When it comes to understanding these requirements, few are as knowledgeable as Tom. This course will help you develop products with confidence, determine an appropriate filing method, and achieve an approval quickly.

ACT NOW and purchase Demystifying NYS Annuity Nonforfeiture for only $1499/single user access or $2998/unlimited access.

Download this free white paper to learn some basic and common drafting issues.

If you would like more information about the Demystifying NYS Annuity Nonforfeiture course, please email Glenda Bean or call her directly at (518) 512-0172.

Getting Out the Pencil in New York

I’m no actuary, but I’m pretty darn good at math for a regular person.

And yet, every time I read a NY policy with an accelerated death benefit that discounts the payment, which is fairly regularly, I have to get out a pencil and a piece of paper and think, think, think.

Here’s a very simplified version of how NY describes the interest rate that may be used to figure the discount.

The maximum interest rate cannot exceed the greater of:
(a) yield on 90-day T-Bills; and
(b) maximum adjustable policy loan interest rate based on the greater of:
     (i) Moody’s Average; and
     (ii) the policy’s guaranteed rate + 1%.

There are basically three values in the above sentence: T-Bills, Moody’s, and “R+1.” Using pencil and paper, I must convince myself, usually more than once, that if a company uses only one of the values to set the rate, then the rate is compliant.

Is this immediately clear to everyone but me? It’s completely intuitive to my colleague, Tom Hartman, but he’s an actuary, and I view actuaries as outliers.

It’s completely counterintuitive to me.

If the acceleration discount uses, let’s say, the Moody’s rate, I have to assign a low number to the Moody’s and higher rates to the T-Bills and R+1 rates, and then prove to myself that it’s compliant. Then I have to assign a high number to the Moody’s and lower numbers to the other two rates and ponder that situation. Then I do it again with the Moody’s rate in the middle. Amazingly enough, it always works.

Perhaps the issue is that regulations do not usually set maximums by giving the “greater of” methodology. I think I am accustomed to regs using “lesser of” language when capping a maximum, and, conversely, using “greater of” language for the setting of minimums.

If a regulatory maximum is the greater of three values, of course any one of the values can be used without regard to the other two, because the value selected is either the lowest, the middle value, or the highest. And since we’re allowed to use the “greater of” the values, meaning the highest value, of course we can use any one of the values because it’s either the highest value, or less than the highest value.

Do I sound convincing? I’m actually trying to convince myself. With luck, next time I come across a discounted accelerated death benefit, and I look at New York’s Regulation 143 to confirm compliance, it will all be crystal clear to me and my pencil will remain in my desk drawer.