FROM: KAREN L. SUTER, COMMISSIONER OF BANKING & INSURANCE
RE: EFFECT OF P.L. 1999, C. 275 ON LIFE, HEALTH AND ANNUITY FORM FILINGS ("42 STATES")
The Department of Banking and Insurance ("Department") has received some inquiries concerning the applicability, scope and implementation of P.L. 1999, c. 275, approved November 24, 1999 ("the Act"), which amended the life insurance, health insurance and annuity forms "file and use" procedures set forth at N.J.S.A. 17B:25-18. The purpose of this bulletin is to advise filers about the use of the procedure created by the Act pending the Department's adoption of its proposed rules, which were published in the September 18 edition of the New Jersey Register (32 N.J.R. 3378(a)) and may be viewed on the Department's Web site at "www.njdobi.org/"
·The Act applies only to individual life insurance policy and contract forms. Eligible forms shall further meet the definition of "life insurance" at N.J.S.A. 17B:17-3, but shall not include variable contract and credit insurance forms. However, some of these forms may be eligible under the existing file and use process.
·The Act does not apply to riders, amendments, applications or any other ancillary forms. The language of the Legislature's amendment of N.J.S.A. 17B:25-18.3 distinguishes between those forms subject to the current file and use process and those subject to the Act.
·Forms submitted pursuant to the Act are required to be "the same as or substantially similar to" those approved for use in at least 42 other states. The Department's proposed rules implementing the Act have interpreted "substantially similar" to mean that all the essential and material requirements, terms, conditions and standard provisions of the policies or contracts are the same, and any differences are non-material. This restriction, however, does not prohibit using the file and use procedure where differences in the forms exist solely because of specific laws of other states. Filers are requested to include with their submission the identity of any such laws.
·The Department's proposed rules will require that companies include with their submission a statement of all filing conditions imposed by other states that have approved the form and the identities of those other states. Filing conditions are any restrictions on the sale and administration of the form.
·The Department's proposed rules will require that submissions under the Act include all certifications, checklists and other support material required by N.J.A.C. 11:4-40.9 or other rules. The effect of this proposed provision would require companies to submit a certification memorandum pursuant to N.J.A.C. 11:4-40.10(a) stating that the certification is submitted pursuant to the existing statute (i.e., N.J.S.A. 17B:25-18.3). Some concern has been expressed that it would be impossible for companies to comply with this requirement because it would conflict with the "substantially similar" requirement of the Act. The Department intends to make appropriate revisions to the proposed certification language on adoption of the proposed rules to address that concern.
__1/8/01____ ___/s/ Karen L. Suter, Commissioner_____