Reston, Va.–Insurance regulators in eight states have granted written recognition to the straight-through processing (STP) standards initiative of NAVA, the Association for Insured Retirement Solutions.

The initiative aims to establish a comprehensive set of standards for managing new annuity business processes electronically and to ensure that STP standards are in compliance with state regulations from all 50 states. 

“NAVA’s goal is to continue aggressively securing acceptance for the STP standards with regulators across the nation so that carriers and annuity distributors can begin deploying STP-compliant processes as soon as possible to meet the significant consumer demand ahead,” says Mark Mackey, president and chief executive officer of NAVA.

To this end, NAVA delegations, consisting of representatives of three to four insurance companies, the local trade association in each state, NAVA, and the ACLI (the American Council of Life Insurers), are in the process of visiting insurance departments across the country. As of Oct. 12, 2007, the delegations have met with regulators in 24 states, and have secured bulletins/letters of acknowledgement from regulators in Arizona, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, South Dakota and Virginia. NAVA plans to meet with six more state insurance departments by the end of the year, and the remaining 20 in 2008.

The STP standards were developed by NAVA and its STP executive council, a coalition of representatives from more than 30 leading insurance companies and distributors from the NAVA membership. Originally published in Dec. 2006, the standards address e-signatures, e-document management and regulatory acceptance, and have built-in compliance capabilities to help prevent unsuitable sales.

There are 24 sets of STP standards addressing a number of key areas, including suitability, electronic forms, privacy and records management. In agreeing with these uniform processes and procedures, the industry intends to establish a means for enhancing the clarity of information about annuities to better inform consumers and streamline annuity sales processes, NAVA says.

In addition to regulators, NAVA is also engaging other industry associations. In July, NAVA revealed that it had struck an alliance with Atlanta-based Financial Services Institute (FSI) to automate electronic annuity sales for independent broker-dealers.

Source: NAVA, INN archives

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