NAII Opposed to Proposed Mass. Telemarketing Regulations

November 6, 2002

The National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII) has decried a regulation proposed by the Massachusetts Office of Consumer and Business Affairs that would require all businesses engaging in telephone solicitation to register with the state and purchase a “do not call” list.

The NAII contends the regulation exceeds state law and is unnecessarily burdensome to businesses. “Although the Office of Business Affairs’ proposal is an attempt to administer the telemarketing solicitation law passed by the Massachusetts legislature this year, it disregards the exclusions spelled out in the law,” said Gerald L. Zimmerman, senior counsel for the National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII). “By doing so, the OCABR exceeds its authority by going beyond the clear language and intent of the law.”

In written testimony submitted to the Office of Business Affairs, NAII points out the law’s definition of the term “unsolicited telephonic sales calls” to exclude those made in connection with an existing debt or contract, or calls to existing customers unless the customer has specifically stated they don’t want to receive such calls. Insurers commonly contact customers to clarify or update policy information.

“There is no legitimate public policy reason to require companies that only make calls to existing customers or in connection with existing contracts to register annually and pay a registration fee, especially in light of the very clear direction by the legislation that such communications are not to be regulated,” the NAII wrote.

“The law was designed to protect consumers from obnoxious calls by unsolicited pitchmen,” Zimmerman said. “The OCABR should rethink its regulation to reflect the intent of the law.”

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