WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 19, 2012 — The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) applauded the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) for adopting the “Certificates of Insurance Model Act” yesterday during NCOIL’s annual meeting in Point Clear, Ala.
“The Big ‘I’ commends NCOIL for its timely adoption of the ‘Certificates of Insurance Model Act’,” says Wes Bissett, Big “I” outside senior counsel, government affairs. “A certificate of insurance is an informational document that provides a courtesy snapshot of an insurance policy and useful information about the coverage in place, and the model responds to the serious certificate-related problems that confront many agents and brokers today. Many third parties exploit their marketplace leverage to demand the issuance of certificates that do not accurately reflect the underlying insurance policies, and the model is designed to eliminate such practices and ensure that certificates are utilized for their intended purpose.”
Addressing the improper use of certificates has been an IIABA priority in recent years, and the Big ‘I’ has successfully secured the passage of laws similar to the new NCOIL model in numerous jurisdictions. Yesterday’s action is the latest step in that national effort, and NCOIL’s action is expected to bolster these ongoing advocacy efforts.
Perhaps most notably, the “Certificates of Insurance Model Act” prohibits a person from requesting the issuance of a certificate that has not been filed with insurance regulators or one that does not accurately reflect the underlying policy. This important element also enables insurance departments to issue cease and desist orders and assess fines against parties that request false or misleading certificates. Among other provisions, the model act also:
• Prohibits a person from issuing a false or misleading certificate or one that purports to alter, amend, or extend the coverage provided by the insurance policy,
• Prohibits the use of a certificate to warrant that a policy of insurance complies with the insurance or indemnification requirements of a contract, and
• Confirms that a certificate of insurance is not a policy and does not independently confer rights to its recipient.
“The new model has been thoughtfully crafted after months of discussion, and it ensures that certificates of insurance may only be used for their intended purpose and will help prevent their abuse and misuse in the marketplace,” says Charles Symington, Big “I” senior vice president of government affairs. “Agents and brokers across the country are oftentimes asked to issue false or misleading certificates by third parties, and this new model law will hopefully eliminate or significantly reduce such problems in the marketplace.”
The model law was developed by NCOIL’s Property-Casualty Insurance Committee, chaired by Kentucky State Representative Steve Riggs, and Rep. Riggs sponsored the proposal that was adopted by the committee yesterday.
Bissett added, “The Big ‘I’ thanks Chairman Riggs for his strong leadership and for thoughtfully overseeing the committee’s deliberations on this important issue.”
Founded in 1896, the Big “I” is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of approximately a quarter of a million agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.