7 minutes Read time

State-by-state variations of laws, compliance protocols, industry transparency, and general regulatory culture can lend one the impression that keeping up with industry changes is a little bit like herding cats. So, what better way to wrangle some of the more localized insurance news than in a Regulatory Roundup?

On an ongoing basis, in no particular order or rank, we’re wrestling the various regulatory changes, compliance actions, and commissioner decisions into our roundup. As a disclaimer: There’s a lot going on at any given time in these here United States, so this isn’t a comprehensive picture of state-level action by any means. Think of it as, instead, a sampler platter of regulation. 

Also important to note: If we’re recapping interpretations of legal decisions, this is some armchair insurance speculation and not at all legal advice. If you need legal advice, get a lawyer. 

Washington does a glow-up on licensing basics

Pre-licensing? It’s gone. Managing General Agent licensing fees? Out of here. 

Washington’s legislative changes to producer licensing went into effect Nov. 18, 2023, which effects processes like fingerprinting and what to bring to your licensing exam.

Now, residents who want to get a producer license have to bring photo IDs to the exam center, and have to have a fingerprinting appointment made with the state vendor, IDEMIA-IdentoGo, before their exam date. Fingerprinting fees must be paid digitally when you schedule your appointment (which you can do here).

Additionally, the state now says you can’t schedule an exam retake at the exam center – you have to wait 24 hours to schedule a new exam. The state’s updates also involve ensuring the Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s website reflects new rules, processes, and regulations.

We love to see a state taking the confusion out of licensing!

Michigan issuing health care protections to living organ donors

The Michigan legislature enshrined benefits for living organ donors in its laws, with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signing SB 384 into law in November with the backing of Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) Director Anita Fox.

The new law stops insurance carriers from denying life, health, or long-term care coverage for consumers based on whether they are living organ donors. One of the long-term aims of the move is to encourage living organ donors, who can donate kidneys, livers, and other organs during their lifetime.

“When living organ donors give the gift of hope to another person, they make a heroic personal sacrifice. Unfortunately, before Governor Whitmer signed Senate Bill 384 into law, those heroes could sometimes face higher insurance premiums, have their insurance cancelled, or even be denied insurance, despite medical evidence that shows they have no greater health risk than people who have not donated an organ,” said Fox in a news release. “As the state agency responsible for regulating insurance companies in Michigan, DIFS will work to ensure that insurers follow all aspects of the Michigan Insurance Code including this important new consumer protection.”

Securities brokers and advisers CE deadline

Thanks to Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) changes, registered representatives and investment adviser representatives – even those with Series 63 or 65 exams who elect to be subject to state-level regulations – may have to get continuing education credits, which was new for many of them in 2023.

Investment advisers have annual CE requirements in the following states:

  • Arkansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • Vermont
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Wisconsin

While there are more continuing education requirements for FINRA professionals, the organization has also extended rules that allow professionals to leave the industry and pause on their registration and CE requirements for up to five years. These rules, called the Maintaining Qualifications Program, aim to retain financial professionals and provide more flexibility for shifting circumstances. Within that five years, if they re-enter the profession, they can get current on CE and pick back up without having to re-take a securities exam.

For securities firms, this is also the time of year to check U4 filings or submit Form U5s for individuals leaving the firms. For firms going through mergers and acquisitions, it bears remembering that, from Nov. 27, 2023, to Jan. 2, 2024, FINRA isn’t accepting requests for mass transfers.

Other state regulatory changes

Alaska state officials are soliciting public input on the state’s health care market, from health care reimbursements to insured payments, in-network requirements, out-of-network costs, direct primary care arrangements, and more. All stakeholders and consumers can participate through the online portal, email (at insurance@alaska.gov), or via snail mail (550 W 7th Ave., Ste. 1535, Anchorage, AK 99501-3587) to the department, due no later than March 1, 2024.

Colorado is once again asking homeowners’ insurance companies to extend additional living expenses (ALE) benefits for Marshall Fire survivors who are still rebuilding. The state has also issued new reserving requirements for term and universal life insurance carriers.

Florida Insurance Commissioner Michael Yaworsky announced a 15.1 percent decrease in workers’ compensation rates. Legislators also passed $176 million of additional funds on the My Safe Florida Home Program for home hardening efforts.

Georgia issued bulletin 23-EX-11 to remind health insurance carriers that cover mental health services of the requirements for filing a comparative analysis report (CAR) with the state Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, which is due by Jan. 1, 2024.

Louisiana has updated its bulletin on catastrophe response plans with the 2022 Regular Legislative Session changes of Act 157. Essentially, the bulletin requires insurers, third-party administrators, and health marketing organizations to file catastrophe response plans with the state. The plans must cover how the business will deal with staff displacement, record-keeping, policyholder communication, claims payment, and more in case of a disaster. Louisiana has also announced the state’s appointment renewal period. Terminations were due by Nov. 24, 2023, and the invoice will appear on NIPR from Dec. 1, 2023, to Jan. 2, 2024.

Michigan has revoked a slew of insurance producer licenses for agencies that failed to report a designated responsible licensed producer (DRLP). (For a refresher on why these matter, check this link.) The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services also announced it earned the Michigan Veteran Connector designation for its commitment for connecting veterans with the resources they’re entitled to.

New Mexico reminded securities businesses that state registration renewals for investment advisers and securities dealers, and all their associated advisers, agents, and representatives, are due for payment by Dec. 11, 2023.   

New York has updated rules for excess and surplus lines brokers. Among the changes, all individual licensees and aspiring licensees must submit applications through the Department for Financial Services Portal, electronically (initial agency applicants can still submit via paper).  

Tennessee has published changes to surplus lines licensing, including clarifications that the initial license application fee and the renewal fee are each $120, and the surplus lines license renewal period runs concurrent to the underlying producer license. 

Washington put annuity sales agencies on notice, reminding them producers who sell annuities will need to take an updated four-hour best-interest course after June 30, 2024, even if they took a four-hour course or the one-hour best-interest course prior to Jan. 1, 2024. The state has also adopted rules conforming the Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s processes to new legislation about how the commissioner will communicate with licensees and how licensees should update their address of record with the OIC.

Wisconsin announced dates for carrier appointment renewals (made via NIPR). Terminations must happen by Dec. 31, 2023, and invoices are open Jan. 5 to March 15, 2024.

While these points of interest aren’t comprehensive, our knowledge of insurance producer and variable lines broker license and compliance maintenance is. See how AgentSync can help make you look smarter today; head over to the Compliance Library and wrastle up some state-by-state regulation and more jurisdictional updates.

Disclaimer - AgentSync does not warrant to the completeness or accuracy of the information provided in this blog. You are responsible for ensuring the accuracy and totality of all representations, assumptions, information and data provided by AgentSync to you in this blog. The information in this blog should not be construed as legal, financial, or other professional advice, and AgentSync is not responsible for any harm you sustain by relying on the information provided herein. You acknowledge and agree that the use of this information is at your own risk. You should always consult with the applicable state and federal regulatory authority to confirm the accuracy of any of the information provided in this blog.