Insurance Division Bulletin INS 2001-4
DATE: July 1, 2001
TO: All Insurance Companies and Other Regulated Entities
SUBJECT: Voluntary Expedited Filing Procedures for Insurance Applications Developed to Allow Depository Institutions to Meet Their Disclosure Obligations Under Section 305 of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.
The four principal banking regulatory agencies published final consumer protection rules regarding bank insurance sales on December 4, 2000. The published rules may be obtained from the Federal Register, Volume 65, Number 233. The federal regulators recently agreed to postpone the effective date for implementation of the consumer protection rules from April 1, 2001 to October 1, 2001. This was done to accommodate requests from depository institutions for more time to prepare to implement the regulations.
The federal banking agencies promulgated consumer protection regulations pursuant to Section 305 of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), governing the sale of insurance products by depository institutions. Among other things, the regulations require depository institutions selling insurance products to make certain disclosures and receive consumer acknowledgements, which are intended to reduce consumer confusion in the sale of insurance products by depository institutions. To best ensure that these requirements are met, depository institutions may prefer to have these disclosures included on insurance application forms. In order to comply with the federal regulations in this fashion, depository institutions selling insurance products will need to ask insurers to make the necessary filings with Oregon. Changes in insurance application forms are subject to prior approval.
It is in the best interest of this state and the producers, insurers and depository institutions that operate within its boundaries to adopt an expedited process for reviewing these application forms. This bulletin is promulgated consistent with the spirit of functional regulation to make it more efficient for depository institutions to comply with their obligations to their functional regulators. The purpose of this bulletin is to provide regulated entities with the appropriate forms and instructions to receive expedited approval for insurance application forms that are revised only to add notices to allow depository institutions to meet their disclosure obligations under Section 305 of the GLBA if this method of compliance is chosen. This process is voluntary. It is up to you to choose whether or not to use this process to expedite the filings of such amended insurance applications.
In pertinent part, Section 305 of the GLBA requires:
Explanation and Instructions for Expedited Review
Exhibits 2 and 3 are model notices for use by depository institutions and other "covered persons" in complying with the written disclosure requirements related to insurance sales that are imposed by Section 305 of the GLBA and the corresponding regulations promulgated by the federal banking agencies. (In addition to depository institutions, a "covered person" is any other person who sells, solicits, advertises, or offers an insurance product or annuity to a consumer at an office of the depository institution or on behalf of a depository institution.)1 One notice provides the written disclosures that must be given to a consumer in connection with an initial purchase of an insurance or annuity product that is unrelated to an extension of credit. The other notice provides the written disclosures that must be given to a consumer in connection with the solicitation, offer or sale of an insurance or annuity product that is related to an extension of credit.
The federal banking agencies have reviewed the content of both notices and determined that it meets the requirements of 12 C.F.R. 14.40 (a) and (b) in the case of national banks; 12 C.F.R. 208.84 (a) and (b) in the case of state member banks; 12 C.F.R. 343.40 (a) and (b) in the case of state non-member banks; and 12 C.F.R. 536.40 (a) and (b) in the case of savings associations.
In addition to the content of the notices, the disclosures required by these regulations must be "readily understandable" and in a "meaningful" form. Examples of the types of methods that an institution could use to call attention to the nature and significance of the information provided include: (i) a plain-language heading to call attention to the disclosures; (ii) a typeface and type size that are easy to read; (iii) wide margins and ample line spacing; (iv) boldface or italics for key words; and (v) distinctive type style, and graphic devices, such as shading or sidebars, when the disclosures are combined with other information. See 12 C.F.R. 14.40(c)(6) in the case of national banks; 12 C.F.R. 208.84(c)(6) in the case of state member banks; 12 C.F.R. 343.40(c)(6) in the case of state non-member banks; and 12 C.F.R. 536.40(c)(6) in the case of savings associations.
References to "the bank" should be to "the savings association" in the case of a savings association, or may be to the actual name of the bank or savings association.
Forms with Instructions
Attached to this bulletin is Exhibit 1, a uniform filing transmittal form, that has been agreed upon by Oregon and other states. An insurer wishing to receive expedited treatment of its filing for prior approval shall complete the EXPEDITED FILING-SECTION 305 APPLICATION Form Filing Transmittal Header as directed. In addition, the insurer(s) submitting this filing must certify that the only change made from the previous application form is the addition of the disclosure notices required by Section 305 of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act for depository institutions. Certification is made by signing the appropriate blank on the transmittal form.
To be complete, a form filing must include the following:
If this filing is for multiple companies, please provide a copy of the transmittal header for each company and an extra copy for return to the company. (i.e. 7 companies = 8 copies)
To ensure meeting the October 1, 2001 compliance date set forth in the federal regulations, such forms should be filed with the appropriate state insurance department no later than September 15, 2001.
This bulletin shall take immediate effect and shall expire on January 1, 2002.