The body of rules and regulations under which insurers operate continues to expand. A new report from Waltham, Mass.-based Wolters Kluwer Financial Services’ Insurance Compliance Solutions shows a universe of nearly 270,000 state and federal laws and regulations that pertain directly or indirectly to the U.S. insurance industry.

Not surprisingly, the report shows 2009 legislative and regulatory activity--including individual sections of law and regulation, plus advisory documents, such as bulletins and attorney general opinion--has peaked when compared to the previous two years. Specifically, Wolters Kluwer found that more than 10,000 rules were added from January to July 2009.

What's more, the study revealed the rate at which rules and regulations were added is accelerating, with a 70% increase over the same period in 2008, and nearly a 50% increase over the same period in 2007.
 
“While this data shows that 2009 is shaping up to be a very active year, it also illustrates that staying on top of legislative and regulatory activity is a challenge that’s growing,” Kathy Donovan, senior compliance counsel at Wolters Kluwer Financial Services, said in a statement.
 
The study found that the rule making was largely concentrated on the health and life insurance sectors, but notes that about 30% of the regulatory activity through July of this year affects all lines of business. "While the actual number of insurance-related bills and regulations that impact a company vary by the lines of business it writes and the states in which it operates, significant resources are typically required to stay on top of this activity and effectively manage the data and ultimate implementation of required changes," the report states.

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