If you’ve attended a conference or chatted with us recently, you’ve likely heard about the AgentSync compliance library. It’s an open source of state-by-state compliance data and industry updates.. But where did that data come from, and why does the library exist?
We’re spilling the tea about the AgentSync Compliance Library here on the blog, so if you’re concerned about sourcing or you’re just curious about what drove the library, buckle up and pour a cup.
Why does AgentSync have a Compliance Library?
It’s no secret that building modern insurance infrastructure takes both a robust technical software skill set and a thorough understanding of insurance regulations across states. Many early members of the AgentSync team come from insurance backgrounds, with experiences that were formed by long insurance industry histories or intense experiences.
Even so, there have been a lot of moments where “well, this is how Kansas handles it, but I don’t know about Virginia” gave us pause, or led us down rabbit holes of definitions and regulations. Like other processes in the industry, this knowledge has tended to live in PDFs, spreadsheets, across countless state websites, and people’s individual brains – not ideal for a highly collaborative experience.
We found that we were doing the same thing many other compliance teams across the country are doing. Different teams collected data about their “piece” of compliance and kept it in spreadsheets or notes for their teams. But that created data silos and misinformation based on outdated data. Individual people became unintentional gatekeepers of data sets based on their knowledge of things like nuances in Washington’s Just-In-Time appointment laws.
Regulatory information about insurance carrier appointments sometimes lives in state laws. Other times, the information is encapsulated in state bulletins, or industry alerts. But for those who aren’t in the industry or don’t work in that state, when a department of insurance issues a bulletin or industry notice, that information can seem fairly inaccessible.
Since we here at AgentSync are dedicated to the idea that insurance compliance should be easier and that insurance at its most fundamental level works best when it’s a human and accessible industry, this manual mess was… discouraging. So we decided – why not pool this research into a database? And why not make it a public resource, since everyone working in the insurance industry needs something like it?
Where does the AgentSync Compliance Library data come from?
Frankly: A ton of research. We knew many of the main points of struggle in the industry – things our team members have struggled with in the aching journey of maintaining compliance. Things like appointments and who needs them, continuing education nuances, and licensing differences. Deadlines and fees, and other rules and points of data that don’t necessarily come through a feed of individual data – these are often things that trip up people who are working on insurance compliance.
We took spreadsheets that many teams had been using internally and sent them through a validation process, finding sourcing from state websites, bulletins, and laws. When we couldn’t find answers, we called or emailed state regulators. Our efforts were largely rewarded: Insurance compliance is difficult, but most state regulators really do want to help!
After cross-checking our initial data with what we had discovered through our research process, we began the work of building out bits of information into a more expansive map of comparative research. The short answer, then, is that the data comes from the states, but not necessarily in a straightforward way.
What are some drawbacks of the data in the AgentSync Compliance Library?
Comparing insurance regulatory cultures is tricky
Collecting and analyzing this kind of data can be difficult not only because it’s buried in pages of regulatory law and department of insurance bulletins, but also because we’re trying to make an apples-to-apples comparison of a whole fruit basket of regulation. Trying to analyze what a state means by “insurance broker” vs. “insurance consultant” (or how “broker” means something different when talking about a variable lines broker, or surplus lines broker!), or whether it allows Just-In-Time appointments when it also doesn’t allow any backdating on appointments… Capturing these nuances is a tricky, imperfect science, and each state has its own exceptions to every rule.
Insurance law vs. insurance regulatory practice
The difference between theory and practice is real, as well. In the process of compiling Compliance Library data, one state we talked to admitted the state law had mandated that insurance carriers appoint each individual producer since the early 2000s, but it was only in 2022 that the state’s technological processes made that possible. This information isn’t surprising for anyone who’s worked in a state office, but it does stress the point that insurance compliance sometimes feels impossible.
Insurance regulatory rules change … a lot
Additionally, these rules are constantly changing. Something that was the rule last week isn’t the rule next week. Regulations and how they’re enforced change thanks to state legislatures, judicial rulings, and administrations, all multiplied by a factor of 50 states (plus additional jurisdictions like Puerto Rico, Guam, and Washington, D.C.!).
In 2022, states issued more than 250 administrative rule change notices, and many of those insurance notices came with updates to multiple rules, with some states entirely overhauling processes like prelicensing, adjuster licensing, or appointments. So, it’s not enough to build our insurance-focused Compliance Library; we also have to provide the resources to maintain the data we’ve accumulated, even as we pursue new threads of inquiry.
High confidence in the AgentSync Compliance Library
Despite the difficulties of maintaining accurate information (difficulties that apply to almost any effort for insurance compliance, we might say), we have a high degree of confidence in the data we house in the Compliance Library. So, if you have questions like “what’s the deal with Rhode Island’s carrier appointment law?”, the Compliance Library is a great starting point to begin mapping your team’s path forward to better insurance compliance.
How to use the AgentSync Compliance Library
If you’re interested in seeing more from the Compliance Library, here are a few points to get you started.
Regulatory Updates: When states release new information about their insurance procedures and regulations, our team uploads that information to the Regulatory Updates page, where you can see at a glance the date a change will be effective, the date it was released, the state issuing the update, and its basic topic. Recent updates are searchable via topic categories or jurisdictions.
Jurisdictional Data: For basic state or territory information like licensing, appointment laws, or CE regulations, check out the Jurisdictions page, where you can select a state and read through all our available data. From the state commissioner to appointment renewal fees and resident individual producer license renewal periods, learn more about how each state handles the basics of insurance regulation.
The 50-State Summary Table: If you’re looking for the stripped down data in a single unified view, you can download your own light version of AgentSync’s Compliance Library data in a summary all your own with the 50-State Summary Table. The summary table isn’t as comprehensive, and a download will only reflect our point-in-time data and not the updates that we regularly make as new information and nuance becomes available, but, if you’re looking to see a single slice of regulation compared across multiple states, this could be for you.
Compliance takes a village
The AgentSync Compliance Library is no substitute for an educated staff. And it’s not perfect – we look forward to many future releases as we continue to improve our data and context. But we hope it’s a start in a more connected, collaborative insurance industry.
If you have suggestions for future research topics, questions about data, or corrections to our existing Compliance Library set, we love a good dialogue, so feel free to contact us. And, if your team is looking for tech options to make your compliance load more automatic (read: easier), select a demo or schedule a time to have your people talk to our people.