More and more insurers and states are using systems for electronically filing rates and forms to meet regulatory requirements, with the number of electronically filed forms tripling in the past year.
For all of 2003, more than 76,000 filings were channeled through SERFF, which is the System for Electronic Rate and Form Filing first introduced by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 1998.
That figure is nearly a 300 percent increase over filings made in 2002. Between 140,000 and 150,000 filings are anticipated in 2004.
By 2003, utilization of SERFF had increased dramatically, as the NAIC’s “speed-to-market” initiative gained acceptance across the country. Forty-nine states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are now capable of accepting filings through SERFF. At year-end 2003, 50 states accepted property/casualty filings, 48 states accepted life insurance filings and 41 states accepted health insurance filings.
According to NAIC, the system achieved a milestone in February of this year, as more than 10,100 filings were submitted during the month, which is a 200 percent increase over February 2003. That represents the first time that usage has surpassed 10,000 filings in one month. Total filings for 2004 stand at 18,363 as of March 1, which is a 180 percent increase in usage over the first two months of 2003.
“Part of our regulatory modernization plan is to dramatically reduce the time and cost of rate and form filing regulatory compliance, and this is evidence that we are achieving that goal,” said NAIC President and South Carolina Insurance Director Ernst Csiszar. “SERFF is simply more cost effective than antiquated filing methods, and it allows information to become accessible much more quickly.”
More than 1,200 insurance companies are currently licensed to use SERFF, and when they do, they experience a mere 23-day turnaround in the filing review cycle, NAIC says.
In December 2002, SERFF added the capability to accept Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) transactions. There are now seven states utilizing SERFF EFT to pay and receive filing fees, with one more state in a testing phase. At year-end 2003, 500 EFT transactions had taken place.
“Electronic filing and electronic transactions are definitely here and are gaining acceptance in the states and in the industry,” said Csiszar. “We’re pleased to see these efficiencies taking hold, and we’re confident that we’ll see full acceptance and usage of SERFF in the near future.”