Full Speed to Market Initiatives Underway in 2001

February 12, 2001

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners announced today that Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana and Ohio will join the previously named states of Maine, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas for the limited launch of the Coordinated Advertising Rate and Form Review Authority.

CARFRA will provide a single point of review and national standards for insurance products. While the process will initially focus on life and health products, CARFRA can also benefit certain property and casualty products and will expand accordingly in the future.

“The CARFRA limited launch continues to make excellent progress,” stated Pennsylvania Commissioner and Co-Chair of the Speed to Market Working Group Diane Koken. “I urge any interested parties to join state regulators March 7th – 9th in Washington D.C. for a CARFRA Working Group interim meeting. This is a very important meeting as we will establish standards for the first three limited-launch products.”

The 10 CARFRA limited-launch states will begin filings on April 2, 2001, to test the system. A full launch will begin May 1, 2001, after testing is completed. CARFRA will utilize the NAIC’s System for Electronic Rate and Form Filings to accept and process filings. All limited-launch states will be connected, trained and operational with SERFF by March 15, 2001.

“The interest from states regarding participation in the CARFRA limited launch was phenomenal,” commented Michigan Commissioner and Speed to Market Co-Chair Frank M. Fitzgerald. “We have a full contingent of states that will test the CARFRA process, technology and national standards. This initiative will yield more efficient state regulation.”

The CARFRA limited-launch states also continue their work on Reviewer Qualification Standards and an Evaluation Advisory Committee. The Reviewer Qualification Standards are the standards that will be used to determine the staff that the CARFRA member states will assign to review product filings and participate in the national standards consensus recommendation.

The Evaluation Advisory Committee will consist of representatives from CARFRA member states, industry representatives and a consumer advocate. The committee will be established by May 1, 2001. Work has also begun to implement the initiatives developed by the Improvements to State-Based Systems Subgroup, chaired by Lee Covington, Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. States have already started the process of creating review standards checklists to provide clear guidance regarding state filing requirements by June 2001.

The NAIC has now approved a funding proposal necessary to move forward on the plan to implement its electronic filing system nationwide by the end of 2001. In addition to these initiatives, the NAIC’s plan establishes a 30-day review and compliance timeframe, calls for moving to a regulatory framework that recognizes marketplace competition for commercial lines, and provides for adequate consumer access to pricing and market-conduct information.

In addition, the plan includes eliminating unnecessary regulations and adding necessary regulations during a process to create the greatest degree of uniformity possible.

“We are aggressively moving forward to implement the NAIC’s plan for establishing a 30-day product review period for nationwide product launches and creating a market-based system for commercial lines products. This plan addresses most, if not all, of the longstanding concerns about the product-approval process while preserving and enhancing important consumer protections,” said Covington. “Commissioners are firmly committed to the plan. It will take a lot of work by all parties to meet our goals, but I am very optimistic that we will be successful.”

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