NAIC Sketches Out Online Resource Prototype

 

As more and more consumers rely on the internet for life insurance information, an insurance commissioners’ working group is wrestling with how to appropriately educate consumers in cyberspace.

The group changed its name from the Life Insurance Buyer’s Guide (A) Working Group to the Life Insurance Online Guide (A) Working Group to reflect the changing times.

During a conference call last week, members debated how to best create an online resource of life insurance information to consumers.

The effort is meant to supplement the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Life Insurance Buyer’s Guide.

One advantage, and potential pitfall, of the online version is the ability to add links directing consumers to additional information. The American Council of Life Insurers urged caution with this capability.

“While decision trees and worksheets may be an efficient method of online analysis for a consumer, directing a consumer to a certain product or a certain amount of coverage could trigger fiduciary/suitability/best interest responsibility for the NAIC in a way likely not intended,” wrote Emily Micale, senior counsel for ACLI.

During the call, members discussed a grid-style alternative presentation developed by Mary Mealer, life and health manager at the Missouri Department of Insurance, and Mike Chrysler, deputy director of life and annuity products at the Illinois Department of Insurance.

The grid would provide consumers with basic, general information about life insurance. Here is a screenshot of it:

A pair of NAIC working group members say the grid style will make it easier for consumers to compare and understand different products.

As described in the grid, there would be links to the information as presented. To date, the group has been working through a prototype submitted by Birny Birnbaum, executive director of the Center for Economic Justice.

In it, Birnbaum proposes a mix of FAQs, product questions and decision trees that would guide consumers.

The grid proposal is “just an example” of what the group can create, an NAIC email said. The specific characteristics will be decided by the full working group.

Another conference call is expected to be scheduled soon to continue work on the online resource.

InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton has covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at john.hilton@innfeedback.com.

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