Call us today @ (518) 692-2494


IAdCA 2018 is in the books!

IAdCA (Insurance Advertising Compliance Association) held another great conference last week, this time in Austin, Texas. This was my first conference as president and while I am proud of what we held, I certainly learned some lessons to carry over to next year. And like those who work on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, our work on next year’s event (to be held in Philadelphia, PA) begins right away, while those “things I don’t want to forget” are fresh.

We had a very strong program this year, put together by our amazing Education Committee Co-Chairs, Jim Namorato from Genworth and Heidi Gabel from Gameplan Financial. Mary Jo Hudson, former Ohio Commissioner and current partner at Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP, was a very informative keynote speaker and one of my personal highlights. I am really looking forward to a report she is publishing this week on what she describes as disparagement of the insurance regulatory framework. 


Fortunately, because the insurance regulatory framework is so strong, I am confident that we will be able to line up an equally fantastic panel of experts, both from industry and regulatory agencies (state and federal), next year.

Thank you to all who stopped by our booth this year – it was great to see you as always. And what would an IAdCA conference be without Alan Prochoroff of Insurance Compliance Insight, one of our fabulous sponsors for many years. 

Namaste from Camelback Mountain

At the top of Camelback Mountain, Arizona

At the top of Camelback Mountain, Arizona

Another year, another wonderful IAdCA conference in the books! And this year’s event DID NOT disappoint! While we’re just settling into some spring-like weather here in upstate NY (fingers crossed…it’s still early in April, after all…), Scottsdale, AZ delivered in a big way by providing zero humidity, warm sunshine, and a view that must be experienced in person. The location (Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia) is just one of the elements that made this year’s event so great; the content provided was stellar as well.

Thursday’s events kicked off with a powerful and unique discussion around Living a Life of Significance presented by Joe Jordan. Joe, a notable industry professional in his own right, shared his perspective on the importance of the industry we work in, and how providing meaningful services to consumers is the way to be successful.

With that point, I couldn’t agree more. As a compliance professional, it’s my belief that the work we do is to ensure that valuable products are made available to consumers in a way that’s fair and reasonable. By doing the right thing, success will flow.

We also got to hear from Rod Perkins of the ACLI with some industry updates, as well as a Q&A session with state regulators John Reilly (Florida) and David Bolton (Oregon.) It’s always so great to get some perspective from state regulators, and there’s a reason these two have been repeat speakers – they’re extremely approachable and helpful!

The breakout sessions covered a range of topics, and it’s always hard to pick just one session per block to attend! Those attendees that are lucky enough to come with co-workers often take a “divide and conquer” approach to make sure they can get as much info as possible. But even if you can’t get to all the sessions you’d like, there are great networking opportunities available to talk about new things you’ve learned or ask about other sessions with attendees and presenters.

Friday’s general sessions included a wonderful (and eye-opening) session on Social Media & Big Data from Randa Zalman including tips on more effective direct mail from Jim Svoboda. Finally, it was time for some general Q&A (which I unfortunately missed – it was time to head out) I’m sure this session was great to close out the conference.

Finally, and perhaps most exciting of all for us at CCS, Cailie is now officially the president of IAdCA, and I have the privilege of serving as the vice president of the organization. It’s such an honor to represent IAdCA as an officer, and I look forward to this next chapter. As I said in my last post, this organization is near and dear to my heart – this only grows truer with time.

If you didn’t get a chance to attend this year’s event, we hope you’ll be able to join us in Austin in 2018.

IAdCA here we come!

It’s hard to believe that tomorrow morning I’ll be on a flight headed to Scottsdale for the 16th Annual IAdCA Conference. I’m so excited to spend some time in Arizona, although I'm a little disappointed that we’ll be a day late - missing the Final Four excitement just by the skin of our teeth!

Camelback Mountain, Scottsdale, AZ

This is my third year attending the conference and it’s something that I look forward to each year. It's so interesting and eye-opening to have the opportunity to meet other insurance compliance professionals and hear all about the various issues, challenges and trending topics from their own perspectives. My involvement this year is a bit different than the first two because this year I had the opportunity to volunteer on the education committee and I’ll be speaking alongside Judith Villarreal of CoreCap Investments, Inc. and M&O Marketing.

Although the topic of sales inducements and rebating is one that Judith has previously presented at IAdCA, I’m looking forward to putting my own spin on the information by discussing a few case studies and several enforcement actions to get a real feel for how the offer of gifts and giveaways can easily turn into a cause for concern that could warrant a violation.

Jim Svoboda’s Direct Mail Makeover session is one that I’m especially excited about attending that is loosely related to the session that Judith and I will be presenting. We all know that direct mailing is a tried-and-true marketing strategy used in the life insurance industry, and it will be interesting to hear his suggestions, analysis, and reviews of the campaigns that other IAdCA attendees submitted to him prior to the conference.

Like Glenda Bean noted in her post, I am also looking forward to this event, the sunshine, and meeting up with industry colleagues. We hope to find some time to hike the summit of Camelback Mountain while we're there – so keep your eyes peeled for our scenic selfie with the infamous Compliance Hero!

16th Annual IAdCA Conference

Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia     Scottsdale, AZ

IAdCA is an organization that’s near and dear to my heart because it’s an organization that focuses exclusively on advertising compliance for insurance compliance professionals. And next week I’ll be on my way to their annual conference at the gorgeous Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, AZ.

When I first started with ad review, IAdCA was like a beacon of light where I could meet like-minded people and learn from those that had experience in this specific area. Don’t get me wrong, there are other great organizations for insurance compliance professionals, but to have an event solely focused on advertising compliance really makes IAdCA unique!

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to participate as a speaker, a volunteer on the education and planning committees, and now as a board member.

Another reason IAdCA is so great? A lot of thought that goes into the program and how to provide exceptional value for attendees. This year, I’ll be speaking on two important topics – both of which I would want to learn about from an attendee perspective. Here’s what I’ll be jamming on:

Effective Compliance Communications

In this session, we’ll be covering top tips to facilitate discussions around advertising compliance issues. It’s one thing to have substantive knowledge of what the issues, rules, and regulations are. Getting buy-in from others around what changes need to be made, and why, is a vital piece of the puzzle. We’re providing practical tips that can be implemented immediately to foster connections and improve buy-in for compliance needs.

Stories from the Trenches    

No one wants to learn the hard way – fines, sanctions, consent orders. This session covers common themes that have come up in market conduct exams and consent orders directly related to advertising. I’ll be discussing specific takeaways for each of the real-life stories so that companies don’t have to wait until it’s too late to address an issue.

I’m looking forward to this event, the sunshine, and meeting up with industry colleagues. Will we see you there?

Training Ad Review Superheroes – 3 Core Components to Building a Brilliant Team

I recently co-presented on this topic at the 2016 IAdCA Conference in Miami, and the session had a great turnout. For those that weren’t able to attend, I want to go over what we believe are three core components of a holistic training program that can take your ad review team from basic to brilliant.  

So, what are these three core components, you ask? Here they are:

  1. Foundation – training in this area revolves around core substantive knowledge. It includes state rules and regulations on advertising, company standards & business rules, and product knowledge. Building the foundation is key to having an ad review team that is phenomenal.

    In terms of getting people to learn this information quickly, the best combination I’ve found is a balance of discussion and action. As much as possible, encourage the trainee to explain whatever they’re reading back to you. Don’t answer questions for them! Allow them the space to think through, and verbalize, what a regulation is saying, or how it applies to language they’ve flagged as potentially misleading, etc. The faster they start actually reviewing pieces, talking about their comments and connecting them to rules, regulations, and standards, the more quickly they’ll be on their way to independence.
  2. Soft Skills – this area is about all the other skills that make highly effective reviewers that aren’t directly related to learning fundamental knowledge. It may be a surprise to find that there are, in fact, many other skills that make the difference between a competent reviewer and an effective one.

    For example, you may have members on your team that really know their stuff in terms of how products work or what the standards are, but maybe they’re having a hard time getting changes made and communicating effectively. Instead of having productive exchanges with marketing, there is negativity and long, drawn-out reviews.

    There are specific things that can be done to improve the overall flow and experience of ad review. Whether you’re a team of one or 10, this is where the role of ad review can be shifted from something that seems cumbersome to productive.

    If you tuned into our webinar interview with Kristy Grant-Hart, you know she touches on a concept that can be incredibly powerful in terms of getting buy-in for any compliance message or goal, ad review included. It’s the idea that there are four primary motivators, and taking the time to see what drives a person and using stories to connect your message to their motivation increases the likelihood that changes will happen with more ease – perhaps even willingly. The four motivators are: personal protection, company protection, noble cause and competitive edge.

    If you’re having trouble getting a message heard, try to understand what motivates the other party, then explain how your change either protects them from certain risks (e.g., being personally held responsible for a “bad ad,” fines against the company, etc.) or how it helps achieve their goals (e.g., doing the right thing by the customer, being more profitable by having more qualified business, etc.)
  3. Refinement – finally, this component is an on-going process, and deals with ways to continually improve and advance individual team members as well as the team as a whole. At this point, it’s about making tweaks and adjustments to policies, procedures, relationships, etc. to be even better than before.

    A great practice for those in this phase would be to present and teach others about ad review. Learning then teaching a subject is a great way to deepen one’s own knowledge of the topic. What an experienced reviewer may take for granted as basic knowledge, may actually be unknown to many outside of the subject area. They’ll start looking at their discipline differently and thinking more creatively about how to explain certain concepts or ideas to others.

    This can be done through having an analyst compile weekly tips on various ad review topics, or about the departments policies and why they are in place. It could also be through presenting on panels at industry events, which is also a great way to show a company’s overall commitment to compliance.

So, there you have it – three core components – by continually training and building in these three areas, you’ll end up with a team that is efficient, knowledgeable and effective in their work.

If you’d like more tips, check out this infographic that covers "6 Steps to Creating & Monitoring an EPIC Ad Review Team."