Finding Hidden Treasure

If you are like me, you know that you can find a treasure-trove of information in filing pipelines. I like the public access version of SERFF to find most of what I am looking for because it is so simple to use. Typically, I research filings to see how any number of challenging, state-specific requirements were addressed and approved. This research can then assist our clients in better understanding and eventually overcoming possible filing challenges before filings are even submitted.


Many states, including the Compact, make accessing these insightful filings pretty easy, while other states can be a bit more challenging. In CA, for example, a written request can be submitted for information, but did you know that the filings can also be accessed using SERFF? This can be done by going in-person to either the San Francisco or the Los Angeles office of the CDI. Access to SERFF is available using the computers provided by the Department for this purpose in their public viewing rooms.

Living in Southern California, I took advantage of this ability and made the short drive from Huntington Beach to Los Angeles just before Thanksgiving. I went on behalf of a client, and was able to easily locate and download several competitor filings to a thumb drive before I was back on the road. What a breeze! I had prepared for my visit in advance by jotting down the NAIC numbers for the companies of interest, as well as the product types and form numbers included in the filings. As with any SERFF search, having that information makes finding a filing quick work, especially since I knew what I was looking for. An appointment is required, but is easy to schedule with a phone call to the Department.

If you are unable to make the trip, I would be happy to go for you – I love a treasure hunt!

And if you prefer to get a copy of the filing the old fashioned way, this link will give you some additional information to do so.



Guidance from NY: Filing 2017 CSO Mortality Table

As you probably know by now, on May 2, 2017, NY released guidance on the filing requirements for insurers and fraternal benefit societies wanting to use the 2017 CSO mortality table. The Department began accepting submissions of policy forms referencing the 2017 CSO Table on May 17th, 2017. It appears that adoption is, not surprisingly, somewhat slow, so we thought it might make sense to provide a bit of a reminder of these rules:

Below is a summary of when the 2017 CSO table can and must be used for reserve and nonforfeiture calculations as well as what to do for previously approved forms that use the 2001 CSO Table. Note that in addition to the information listed here, policy form submissions must comply with all usual and substantive requirements set forth in the product outline applicable to the product type being submitted.

Key Dates for Reserve and Nonforfeiture Calculations

  • May use for reserve and nonforfeiture calculations for policies issued on or after 1/1/2017
  • Must use for policies issued on or after 1/1/2020

Previously Approved Form: References 2001 CSO Table

A change in the mortality basis - that is, a change in the underlying assumptions on consumer life expectancies that is used to base policy costs and project payouts - to the 2017 CSO Table cannot be accomplished without filing a new version of the policy form for approval.

  • The new version of the policy form will need a unique form number.
  • The previously approved forms that do not themselves reference the table (e.g., application) may be used with the new version of the policy form without needing to re-file. Only those forms that themselves reference the mortality table must be re-filed.
    • The filing description should identify previously approved forms that will be used with the policy form submitted for approval. For example, the application referenced in the bullet above.

Previously Approved Form: Does Not Reference 2001 CSO Table

For example, a term life insurance with no cash value and company wishes to change the mortality basis, the company must:

  • Send a letter - NOTE: it’s our understanding that this means either a physical letter or entering a letter into the Filing Description in SERFF - and supporting material to the Dept. stating intentions to revise the table and, if applicable, indicate whether or not change is retroactive for all policies issued in 2017.
    • When submitting via SERFF, select the “Other” filing mode and enter an Explanation of “Election of 2017 CSO.”
    • In SERFF, use the Filing Description field to enter the letter. If you also include an actual letter be sure to check and double check that the filing description field and the uploaded document are consistent since version control can become an issue if choosing to repeat the information in multiple places.
  • Note that the reserve and nonforfeiture basis must be the same.
  • A certification of nonforfeiture compliance must be included with the election.
  • If the 2001 CSO Mortality Table was only mentioned in the actuarial memo accompanying the original policy form filing, then an updated actuarial memo must accompany the election submission.
  • The election must be received by 12/31/17 in order to elect a retroactive change in the mortality basis for year-end 2017.
  • The 2017 CSO Table may only be used for policies issued on or after 1/1/17 and then only if the company files an actuarial opinion in the annual statement based on asset adequacy analysis as specified in 95.8 of Reg. 126. See 100.5(d) of Reg. 179 for more details.

Send election and supporting materials to William Carmello, Chief Actuary via SERFF or the address below.

  • If using SERFF, the “Other” filing mode should be selected with an Explanation of “Election of 2017 CSO.”
  • Address for Submissions not via SERFF:

New York State Department of Financial Services
Life Bureau – 19th Floor
One Commerce Plaza
Albany, New York 12557