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October 20, 2015

SILA 2015 Conference Highlights

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With more ways to communicate than ever, connecting with the industry and regulator community face-to-face is irreplaceable. Making and renewing connections was front and center as 40 members of Vertafore's Sircon solutions team attended the 2015 SILA National Education Conference in Nashville last week. SILA (Securities & Insurance Licensing Association) is a nonprofit organization that helps educate and share best practices for insurance licensing and securities registration compliance professionals.

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At the conference, Vertafore's Sam Meyer was announced as the new President of SILA. Donna Robinson, Licensing and Commissions Manager at Physicians Mutual and long-time Sircon solutions customer, was announced as President Elect.

Nearly 800 industry and regulatory professionals gathered for SILA's annual conference to catch up on the latest and greatest direct from experts, making it SILA's largest national education conference in years.

Securities Compliance Focus Increases

An increased number of securities sessions was just one indication of more interest in and discussion of securities compliance topics. FINRA was also recognized as SILA's organization of the year. With additional FINRA representatives in attendance, a number of discussions revolved around improving the exchange of information between industry, FINRA, and state regulatory stakeholders. FINRA also shared that their exams process is being revised, although the registration process will not be affected.

In addition, FINRA discussed the migration of continuing education courses from testing centers to online, a change expected to be complete by June 2016. FINRA did mention that testing centers would still be available for those with special circumstances.

A hot topic also included FINRA's public records validation initiative. Attendees were able to discuss how to address the challenges associated with properly supervising and reporting rep financial and character issues.

Cybersecurity Risk Management Elevates in Priority

The NAIC recently released its 12 principles of cybersecurity, and several organizations described increased investment in addressing the growing security risk. Appropriate use of and access to non-public information, like social security numbers, was discussed by regulators and industry.

Even with the increased focus and investment in cybersecurity, there is more work ahead. Fred Karlinsky of Greenberg Traurig shared best practices for businesses including periodic discussions, internal security policies and procedures, and regular staff training. Karlinksy, along with representatives from AAA Life Insurance and Docupace later hosted a cybersecurity gameshow to inform attendees of security issues.

Regulator Roundups

The greatest number of regulators ever were in attendance at this year's SILA conference. The regulator regional session and roundups were substantially revamped and improved. Robert Commodore, Senior Director of Consumer & Industry Services for the Minnesota Department of Commerce, and Brian Gaudiose, Deputy Commissioner at the Virginia Bureau of Insurance, contributed to making regulatory sessions informative and successful.

Gaudiose provided an ethics course as well as an update on the activities of the Producer License Working Group, which he chairs. Here are a few quick highlights:

  • States are encouraged to publish their pass rates for their pre-licensing exams
  • The state licensing handbook has been reviewed and revised with more updates to come
  • In progress:
    • Adjuster licensing reciprocity and implementation
    • Improved reciprocity guidelines and forms for continuing education
    • Surplus lines licensing review and recommendations

Best practices in preparing for market conduct exams and how to handle enforcement issues were also discussed.

Other Notable Updates

Agent-Carrier Collaboration: ACORD discussed the recently approved 821 producer information and new background check authorization and disclosures forms (876, 877, 877CA). The forms were also reviewed by legal counsel prior to approval.

Commissions Reminder: Commissions can only be paid once authorization to pay has been verified. For more information on commission rules you can subscribe to the SILA Digest which Vertafore publishes in partnership with SILA.

Want to discover how you can get connected with the industry? Learn more about Sircon connections and NetVU16 .