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NAIFA


Recent posts by NAIFA

1 min read

NAIFA-VA Comments on State-Run Retirement Bill at Delegates' Subcommittee Meeting

By NAIFA on Jan 19, 2021 1:18:15 PM

Virginia House Bill 2174 would establish the VirginiaSaves Program, a state-run automatic enrollment payroll deduction IRA savings program. The program would be optional for employees, but would require employers with five or more employees that do not offer retirement plans to set up a payroll deduction and retirement savings plan through the state-run system.

Elizabeth Pate, a NAIFA-VA Board member and Past President for the state chapter, testified via Zoom before the Virginia House of Delegates Appropriations Compensation and General Government Subcommittee that NAIFA-VA has concerns about the proposed program.

Pate said that NAIFA applauds efforts by the Virginia General Assembly to help Virginians prepare for retirement, but cannot support the legislation as it currently stands. She noted that the federal SECURE Act makes it easier for employers to band together and offer retirement plans in a cost-effective manner. This achieves the goal of encouraging greater retirement preparation by employees without creating a state-run plan to compete with the private sector.

Plans created under the SECURE Act, she noted, would give participants protections afforded by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), while it appears VirginiaSaves participants would not benefit from ERISA protections.

Pate also noted that enrollees in the state-run program would lack access to personalized advice from financial professionals that many participants in private-market plans receive.

Several members of the Subcommittee raised questions about potential financial impacts of the VirginiaSaves plan on small businesses and expressed concerns about the mandatory nature of employer participation under the current draft of the legislation. The Subcommittee vote to send HB 2174 to the full committee for further consideration.

NAIFA and NAIFA-VA will remain politically active and engaged on the proposed legislation.

Topics: State-Run Retirement State Advocacy Retirement Plans
2 min read

Michigan and Arkansas Adopt Best Interest Rule on Annuities

By NAIFA on Jan 5, 2021 10:44:27 AM

Michigan and Arkansas have become states number four and five to adopt a best interest annuity rule based on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIC’s) revised Suitability in Annuity Transactions Model Regulation

Topics: Legislative & Regulatory State Advocacy Interstate Advocacy NAIC Model Regulation
1 min read

Repeal of Health Insurers' Antitrust Exemption Likely to Harm Consumers

By NAIFA on Dec 23, 2020 11:13:00 AM

On December 22, the Senate voted to repeal the McCarran-Ferguson antitrust exemption for health insurance companies by passing HR 1418, the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act. The House passed the bill on Sept. 21. President Donald J. Trump is expected to sign the bill into law later this week.

Topics: Advocacy Health Care
1 min read

Spending Bill Loosens Restrictions on FSAs

By NAIFA on Dec 23, 2020 11:01:00 AM

As part of the COVID relief package passed by Congress, NAIFA-backed Flexible Spending Account (FSA) relief was included to relieve some of the financial burden consumers face regarding healthcare costs and health spending account allocations. Known as the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, (CAA) it includes provisions extending FSA benefits to those enrolled in such plans.

2 min read

NAIFA-New York Hires Greenberg Traurig to Represent State Advocacy Interests

By NAIFA on Dec 22, 2020 2:58:46 PM

The New York chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) has reached an agreement with Greenberg Traurig under which the firm will represent the advocacy interests of NAIFA-New York with state legislators and regulators. Greenberg Traurig is a global law firm with offices around the country, including in Albany and New York City.

Topics: State Advocacy Press Release
4 min read

A Deeper Dive Look at Amendments to the Paycheck Protection Program

By NAIFA on Dec 22, 2020 11:55:07 AM

As we posted earlier, agreement has come together at the final hour on the much-anticipated COVID-19 relief and government-funding legislation. The 5,593-page legislation is expected to be signed by President Trump today.

Topics: Advocacy COVID-19
4 min read

NAIFA-Supported Surprise Medical Billing Provision Is Part of Year-End Legislation

By NAIFA on Dec 22, 2020 9:09:46 AM

Congress has passed the final COVID-19 relief package of 2020 to support the economy and provide further relief during the continuing pandemic. Included within the 5,593-page bill is a provision to end surprise medical billing. The surprise medical billing language provides no government rate setting. The inclusion of this provision is arguably the most important patient-protection inclusion since the creation of Medicare Part D. NAIFA worked with congressional leaders in both the Senate and House, advising legislators of the importance of including surprise medical billing in the final bill.

Topics: Advocacy Health Care
1 min read

Congress Expands Paycheck Protection Program in $900 Billion Relief Bill

By NAIFA on Dec 22, 2020 8:42:45 AM

Congress has agreed to a $900 billion COVID-19 stimulus package to assist American individuals and businesses impacted by the pandemic. The legislation includes stimulus checks of up to $600 per person, including children. The amount diminishes for individuals with incomes reported above $75,000 in 2019, while those who earned more than $87,000 are not eligible. The package would also extend federal unemployment benefits by up to $300 per week through the middle of March.

Topics: Advocacy COVID-19
1 min read

New DOL Rule on Retirement Advice Aligns with the SEC's Reg BI

By NAIFA on Dec 15, 2020 6:24:52 PM

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has finalized its new prohibited transaction exemption (PTE) for financial professionals who provide retirement plan advice. The PTE requires advisors to work in the best interests of their clients, receive reasonable compensation, and make no “materially misleading statements.” The PTE is effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

The DOL exemption aligns with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation Best Interest, and preserves opportunities and choices for workers and retirees seeking high-quality, personalized advice.

“NAIFA thinks the Department of Labor proposal – with the modifications in today’s final rule – will benefit retirement investors by preserving access to a wide variety investment advice professionals, products, and compensation arrangements,” said NAIFA CEO Kevin Mayeux. “The Department has struck the right balance between crafting a PTE with robust compliance obligations that serve the interests of investors, while avoiding an overly prescriptive approach or penalizing certain market segments or arrangements versus others.”

The DOL under the Obama administration initially issued a rule that would have imposed a restrictive fiduciary duty on financial professionals and hindered access of middle-market investors to retirement services and advice. NAIFA was among the organizations that filed a lawsuit resulting in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit vacating the rule in 2018.

Topics: Advocacy Retirement Legislative & Regulatory Reg BI
1 min read

NAIC Executive Committee Updates UTPA Rebate Language

By NAIFA on Dec 13, 2020 8:22:54 PM

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Executive Committee adopted an amendment to the NAIC Unfair Trade Practices Act that would liberalize the existing restrictions contained in the Model Act’s anti-rebating provisions.

The adopted language allows insurers or producers to "offer or give non-cash gifts, items, or services, including meals to or charitable donations on behalf of a customer, in connection with the marketing, sale, purchase, or retention of contracts of insurance." The revised language provides that offering or providing products or services that will help mitigate risk or loss will not be considered impermissible rebates.

NAIFA commented on the revisions to the UTPA in a letter sent in July to the NAIC’s Innovation and Technology (EX) Task Force.

NAIFA commended the NAIC for undertaking a review of the current UTPA provisions that deal with rebating, with an eye towards modernizing the model in recognition of technological and risk/loss mitigation advances that have occurred in recent years.

“Basically, recent technology advances generally referred to as ‘insuretech’ have resulted in the development of products that will aid in risk and loss mitigation,” said Gary Sanders, NAIFA’s Counsel and VP. “Things such as Fitbits and monitors that will tell you that your water heat is leaking, etc. can help reduce risks for consumers and losses for insurers.”

In general, NAIFA supports the approach taken in the draft as well as the scope of the proposed expansion of the types of practices, products and/or services that would not be considered an impermissible rebate.

The amendments also allow each state commissioner to impose a cap on the dollar amount of gift, meals and similar items that can be provided without running afoul of the anti-rebate laws.

Topics: Life Insurance Interstate Advocacy

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