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Insurance Marketplace Standards Association

Exposing Corruption in 401(k) Insurance Company Separate Accounts

The Insurance Marketplace Standards Association (IMSA) was created in 1996 in response to a crisis of damaged consumer trust and confidence in the insurance industry. An independent, nonprofit organization, IMSA had more than 200 voluntary members that lead the insurance industry in promoting high ethical standards in the sale of individual life insurance, long-term care insurance, and annuity products. The organization has been superseded by the formation of the Compliance & Ethics Forum for Life Insurers (CEFLI), which can be found online at www.cefli.org . If you open their website, the Home page opens with the title, “A New Era in Compliance & Ethics…”

The Compliance and Ethics Forum for Life Insurers (CEFLI) state that it “…represents a new, improved approach to knowledge, information and resources for life insurance compliance & ethics professionals.” The Forum, “Governed by a Board of Directors comprised of chief compliance & ethics officers, CEFLI is an organization developed by chief compliance & ethics officers for chief compliance & ethics officers. CEFLI will help to develop innovative strategies and identify best practices to address the most important compliance & ethics issues on the minds of today’s thought leaders within the life insurance industry.”

I applaud any organization that promotes improved governance in an industry that in recent times has reached the outer limits of corruption and self dealing such has the Principal Group of Companies reached. But apparently this issue has been around a while. The CEFLI is seldom mentioned in trade magazines, and insurance company websites do not seem to promote it’s ideology. Donald J. Walters is the President & CEO of CEFLI, and the following biography was obtained from the 2012 International Insurance Symposium where he was a guest speaker:

  1. Our corporate ethics standards, vetted by leading experts and used for 10 years, provide an independent, objective measurement tool critical to drive business decisions and stakeholder interaction.
  2. We recognize programs and companies who’ve proven that their programs and practices are extraordinary and provide mechanisms to help communicate those recognitions.
  3. Ethisphere’s global Summits, roundtables and publications capture the leading voices in the field. And our corporate membership group provides unparalleled networking opportunities.

Principal is very proud of it’s status as one of the world’s most ethical companies. In fact, google Ethisphere and Principal Financial and this news release pops up first out of almost 7400 hits! If CEFLI and Principal is googled, the only related search involves a Florida Settlement Agreement between the Florida Department of Legal Affairs and Prudential Insurance Company, involving the enforcement of Florida’s unclaimed property laws. Hmm, but Prudential was the only other “most ethical company” next to Principal! But this pdf publication was published on CEFLI’s website in 2012, if you look at the active link!

If we take the above information at face value, we have the allegedly two most ethical insurance companies in the world, both members of compliance and ethics related associations. And both involved in fraudulent activity. I can assume both companies are members of the CEFLI, which certainly has good intentions, with less than meager results so far. According to Mr. Walters, one goal of his organization is to “…bring together key stakeholders, including… consumer advocates.” I am a consumer advocate, and I have applied for membership in his Forum… if the sky is falling, he might even approve my membership. If I could communicate my views as a member, I would suggest the following dictate of his mission. “Mr. Walters, without core values, and the insurance industry corporate management HAS NO CORE VALUES…. you cannot instill ethics nor compliance into any organization.

IMSA Principles Of Market Conduct

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Term Life America follows a strict ethics code similar to the one below-


The IMSA Principles Of Market Conduct

IMSA Member Companies will conduct business according to high standards of honesty and fairness and to render that service to its customers which, in the same circumstances, it would apply to or demand for itself

IMSA Member Companies have adopted the Principles and Code of Ethical Market Conduct of the Insurance Marketplace Standards Association. The IMSA code is designed to assure consumers that policies issued by member insurance companies continue to commit itself to honesty, fairness, and integrity in all customer contacts involving the sales and servicing of life, disability, long term care and health insurance plans.

Principle1 Member companies will conduct business according to high standards of honesty and fairness and to render that service to its customers which, in the same circumstances, it would apply to or demand for itself.

A. Insofar as the products we sell on our website are concerned, we make reasonable efforts to determine the insurable needs or financial objectives of our customers based upon relevant information obtained from the customer and enter into transactions which assist the customer in meeting his or her insurable needs or financial objectives.

B. Member companies maintain compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

C. In cooperation with consumers, regulators and others, we affirmatively seek to improve our practices for sales and marketing of life products.

D. The Principals of Ethical Market Conduct are reflected in our company policies and practices.

Member companies will provide competent and customer-focused sales and service.

A. Member companies are of good character and business repute, and have appropriate qualifications and experience.

B. Member companies are duly licensed or otherwise qualified under state law.

C. Employees involved in the sales process are adequately trained, as appropriate to the insurer’s distribution system, to focus on customers’ needs and objectives.

D. Member companies have adequate knowledge of the insurer’s products and their operation.

E. Employees involved in the sales process are trained, as appropriate to its distribution system, in the need to comply with applicable insurance laws and regulations and the concepts in the Principles and Code of Ethical Market Conduct.

F. Employees involved in the sales process participate, as appropriate to the insurer’s distribution system, in continuing education.

Member companies will engage in active and fair competition.

A. Member companies maintain compliance with applicable laws and regulations fostering fair competition.

B. Member companies do not replace existing life insurance policies without first communicating to the customer, in a manner consistent with Principle 4, information that he or she needs in order to ascertain whether such replacement of existing policies or contracts may or may not be in his or her best interest.

C. Employees involved in the sales process refrain from disparaging competitor insurers.

Member companies will provide advertising and sales materials that are clear as to purpose and honest and fair as to content.

A. Presentation of any material designed to lead to sales or solicitation of life products is done in a manner consistent with the best interests of the customer. All such sales or solicitation communications should be based upon the principles of fair dealing and good faith, and will have a sound basis in fact.

B. Materials presented as part of a sale are comprehensible in light of the complexity of the product being sold.

C. Member companies maintain compliance with all applicable laws and regulations related to advertising, unfair trade practices, sales illustrations and other similar provisions.

D. Illustrations of premiums and considerations, costs, values and benefits are accurate and fair, and contain appropriate disclosure of amounts which are not guaranteed and those which are guaranteed to the policy or contract.

Member companies will provide for fair and expeditious handling of customer complaints and disputes.

A. Complaints are identified, evaluated and handled in compliance with applicable state law and regulations related to consumer complaint handling.

B. Good faith efforts are made to resolve complaints and disputes without resorting to civil litigation.

Member companies will maintain a system of supervision and review that is reasonably designed to achieve compliance with these Principals of Ethical Market Conduct.

A. Member companies Senior Management establishes and enforces policies and procedures reasonably designed to comply with the Principles and Code of Ethical Market Conduct.

B. There is an adequate system of supervision of the market activities of employees involved in the sales process in order to monitor their compliance with these Principles and Code and applicable laws and regulations.

C. Compliance training sessions are conducted for employees involved in the sales process and instruction on the company’s compliance requirements is made available to all employees.

D. Policies and procedures provide for auditing and monitoring of information related to sales practices of employees involved in the sales process.

We offer term quotes for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 year term periods. Our universal life products can be quoted to cover a term of up to age 120. Not all term product quotes from all term companies quoted are available in all states.

Insurance Marketplace Standards Association

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What companies want to know about IMSA

Related Articles

  • Enhancing market conduct companywide. GRONER, DENNIS M. // National Underwriter / Life & Health Financial Services;1/11/99, Vol. 103 Issue 2, p10

Enumerates some ideas that a company can do about compliance and market conduct to foster continuous change and improvement. What being a member of the Insurance Marketplace Standards Association (IMSA) entails; Discussion on educating agents.

Year-Old IMSA Has Grown To 216 Members. Brostoff, Steven // National Underwriter / Life & Health Financial Services;4/12/99, Vol. 103 Issue 15, p3

Reports on the membership growth of the Insurance Marketplace Standards Association (IMSA) in 1999. Background on the association; Opinion of IMSA Executive Director Paul Mason on public awareness of the group; Expansion plan of IMSA.

Focuses on the Insurance Marketplace Standards Association’s (IMSA) membership renewal. Tips to increase the chance of a member to comply with the IMSA requirements; Approaches member companies are taking to achieve compliance.

Discusses the proper assessment of compliance and market conduct function which is an important insurance company function in the United States. One of the major goals of compliance and market conduct; Four basic questions to effectively supervise the compliance and market conduct function;.

Improving the IMSA evaluation process. Agnew, Thomas G.A.; Jaffe, Jay M. // National Underwriter / Life & Health Financial Services;11/17/97, Vol. 101 Issue 46, p24

Reveals that life insurance companies will be able to use the Insurance Marketplace Standards Association (IMSA) logo or cite IMSA membership starting April 1, 1998. Process required to qualify for IMSA membership; Stages involved in the performance evaluation process; Use of customers in the.

Look for silver bullets in your IMSA review. Friedman, Douglas I. // National Underwriter / Life & Health Financial Services;6/16/98, Vol. 102 Issue 11, p25

Presents guidelines in handling insurance company assessment under the Insurance Marketplace Standards Association (IMSA) process. Amendment of company policies that were distributed before the IMSA; Brief overview of job description predicament; Incorporation of training programs and materials.

Ethics 101. Longo, Tracey // Financial Planning;Jul97, Vol. 27 Issue 7, p129

Discusses the Insurance Marketplace Standards Association’s (IMSA) sales practice audit program. Spate of regulatory scrutiny and investigation in the insurance industry; Requirements for membership in the IMSA; Program’s focus on needs-based selling; Questions on the effectiveness of the.

A conduct code is born. Miller, Theresa // Best’s Review / Life-Health Insurance Edition;Apr98, Vol. 98 Issue 12, p24

Discusses the role of the Insurance Marketplace Standards Association (IMSA) in promoting ethical market conduct in the United States life insurance industry. Principles of the organization’s ethical market conduct; Screening conducted by IMSA in selecting its members; Requirements of IMSA for.

Where should the IMSA review start? Friedman, Douglas I. // National Underwriter / Life & Health Financial Services;1/19/98, Vol. 102 Issue 3, p16

Provides information on the review process of the Insurance Marketplace Standards Association (IMSA) by insurers. Insights on the IMSA; Recommendations listed.

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