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The Utah Administrative Code is the body of all effective administrative rules as compiled and organized by the Division of Administrative Rules (Subsection 63G-3-102(5); see also Sections 63G-3-701 and 702).

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R590. Insurance, Administration.

Rule R590-230. Suitability in Annuity Transactions.

As in effect on April 1, 2014

Table of Contents

R590-230-1. Authority.

This rule is promulgated pursuant to Section 31A-22-425 wherein the commissioner is to make rules to establish standards for recommendations and Subsection 31A-2-201(3)(a) wherein the commissioner may make rules to implement the provisions of Title 31A.

R590-230-2. Purpose.

(1) The purpose of this rule is to:

(a) set forth standards and procedures for recommendations to consumers that result in a transaction involving annuity products so that the insurance needs and financial objectives of consumers at the time of the transaction are appropriately addressed; and

(b) require insurers to establish a system to supervise recommendations.

(2) Nothing herein shall be construed to create or imply a private cause of action for a violation of this rule.

R590-230-3. Scope.

(1) This rule shall apply to any recommendation to purchase, replace, or exchange an annuity made to a consumer by a producer, or an insurer where no producer is involved, that results in the recommended purchase or exchange.

(2) Unless otherwise specifically included, this rule shall not apply to recommendations involving:

(a) direct response solicitations where there is no recommendation based on information collected from the consumer pursuant to this rule; and

(b) contracts used to fund:

(i) an employee pension or welfare benefit plan that is covered by the Employee Retirement and Income Security Act (ERISA);

(ii) a plan described by Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Sections 401(a), 401(k), 403(b), 408(k) or 408(p), as amended, if established or maintained by an employer;

(iii) a government or church plan defined in IRC Section 414, a government or church welfare benefit plan, or a deferred compensation plan of a state or local government or tax exempt organization under IRC Section 457;

(iv) a nonqualified deferred compensation arrangement established or maintained by an employer or plan sponsor;

(v) settlements of or assumptions of liabilities associated with personal injury litigation or any dispute or claim resolution process; or

(vi) formal prepaid funeral contracts.

R590-230-4. Definitions.

In addition to the definitions in Section 31A-1-301, the following definitions shall apply for the purpose of this rule:

(1) "Annuity" means:

(a) an annuity as defined in Section 31A-1-301; and

(b) a fixed annuity or variable annuity that is individually solicited, whether the product is classified as an individual or group annuity.

(2) "FINRA" means the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority or its successor.

(3) "Producer" includes an individual producer or agency producer.

(4) "Recommendation" means advice provided by a producer, or an insurer where no producer is involved, to an individual consumer that results in a purchase, replacement or exchange of an annuity in accordance with that advice.

(5) "Replacement" is as defined in R590-93-3.

(6) "Suitability information" means information that is reasonably appropriate to determine the suitability of a recommendation, including the following:

(a) age;

(b) annual income;

(c) financial situation and needs, including the financial resources used for the funding of the annuity;

(d) financial experience;

(e) financial objectives;

(f) intended use of the annuity;

(g) financial time horizon;

(h) existing assets, including investment and life insurance holdings;

(i) liquidity needs;

(j) liquid net worth;

(k) risk tolerance; and

(l) tax status.

R590-230-5. Duties of Insurers and of Producers.

(1) In recommending to a consumer the purchase of an annuity or the exchange of an annuity that results in another insurance transaction or series of insurance transactions, the producer, or the insurer where no producer is involved, shall have reasonable grounds for believing that the recommendation is suitable for the consumer on the basis of the facts disclosed by the consumer as to the consumer's investments and other insurance products and as to the consumer's financial situation and needs, including the consumer's suitability information, and that there is a reasonable basis to believe all of the following:

(a) the consumer has been reasonably informed of various features of the annuity, such as the potential surrender period and surrender charge, potential tax penalty if the consumer sells, exchanges, surrenders or annuitizes the annuity, mortality and expense fees, investment advisory fees, potential charges for and features of riders, limitations on interest returns, insurance and investment components and market risk. These requirements are intended to supplement and not replace the disclosure requirements of R590-229;

(b) the consumer would benefit from certain features of the annuity, such as tax-deferred growth, annuitization, or death or living benefit;

(c) the particular annuity as a whole, the underlying subaccounts to which funds are allocated at the time of purchase, or exchange of the annuity, and riders and similar product enhancements, if any, are suitable, and in the case of an exchange or replacement that the transaction as a whole is suitable, for the particular consumer based on the consumer's suitability information; and

(d) in the case of an exchange or replacement of an annuity the exchange or replacement is suitable including taking into consideration whether:

(i) the consumer will incur a surrender charge, be subject to the commencement of a new surrender period, lose existing benefits, including death, living or other contractual benefits, or be subject to increased fees, investment advisory fee or charges for riders and similar product enhancements;

(ii) the consumer would benefit from product enhancements and improvements; and

(iii) the consumer has had another annuity exchange or replacement and, in particular, an exchange or replacement within the preceding 36 months.

(2) Prior to the execution of a purchase, replacement, or exchange of an annuity resulting from a recommendation, a producer, or an insurer where no producer is involved, shall make reasonable efforts to obtain the consumer's suitability information.

(3) Except as permitted under Subsection (4), an insurer shall not issue an annuity recommended to a consumer unless there is a reasonable basis to believe the annuity is suitable based on the consumer's suitability information.

(4)(a) Except as provided under Subsection (4)(b), neither a producer nor an insurer shall have any obligation to a consumer under Subsection (1) or (3) related to any annuity transaction if:

(i) no recommendation is made;

(ii) a recommendation was made and was later found to have been prepared based on materially inaccurate information provided by the consumer;

(iii) a consumer refuses to provide relevant suitability information and the annuity transaction is not recommended; or

(iv) a consumer decides to enter into an annuity transaction that is not based on a recommendation of the insurer or producer.

(b) An insurer's issuance of an annuity subject to Subsection (4)(a) shall be reasonable under all the circumstances actually known to the insurer at the time the annuity is issued.

(5) A producer or, where no producer is involved, the responsible insurer representative, shall at the time of sale:

(a) make a record of any recommendation subject to Subsection (1);

(b) obtain a customer signed statement documenting a customer's refusal to provide suitability information, if any; and

(c) obtain a customer signed statement acknowledging that an annuity transaction is not recommended if a customer decides to enter into an annuity transaction that is not based on the producer's or insurer's recommendation.

(6)(a) An insurer shall establish a supervision system that is reasonably designed to achieve the insurer's and its producers' compliance with this rule, including the following:

(i) the insurer shall maintain reasonable procedures to inform its producers of the requirements of this rule and shall incorporate the requirements of this rule into relevant producer training manuals;

(ii) the insurer shall establish standards for producer product training and shall maintain reasonable procedures to require its producers to comply with the requirements of Section R590-230-6;

(iii) the insurer shall provide product specific training and training materials that explain all material features of its annuity products to its producers;

(iv) the insurer shall maintain procedures for review of each recommendation prior to issuance of an annuity that are designed to ensure that there is a reasonable basis to determine that a recommendation is suitable. Such review procedures may apply a screening system for the purpose of identifying selected transactions for additional review and may be accomplished electronically or through other means including physical review. Such an electronic or other system may be designed to require additional review only of those transactions identified for additional review by the selection criteria;

(v) the insurer shall maintain reasonable procedures to detect recommendations that are not suitable. This may include confirmation of consumer suitability information, systematic customer surveys, interviews, confirmation letters and programs of internal monitoring. Nothing in this subsection prevents an insurer from complying with this subsection by applying sampling procedures, or by confirming suitability information after issuance or delivery of the annuity; and

(vi) the insurer shall annually provide a report to senior management, including to the senior manager responsible for audit functions, that details a review, with appropriate testing, reasonably designed to determine the effectiveness of the supervision system, the exceptions found, and corrective action taken or recommended, if any.

(b)(i) Nothing in this subsection restricts an insurer from contracting for performance of a function, including maintenance of procedures, required under Subsection (6)(a). An insurer is responsible for taking appropriate corrective action and may be subject to sanctions and penalties pursuant to Section R590-230-7 regardless of whether the insurer contracts for performance of a function and regardless of the insurer's compliance with Subsection (6)(b)(ii).

(ii) An insurer's supervision system under Subsection (6)(a) shall include supervision of contractual performance under this Subsection. This includes the following:

(A) monitoring and, as appropriate, conducting audits to assure that the contracted function is properly performed; and

(B) annually obtaining a certification from a senior manager, who has responsibility for the contracted functions that the manager has a reasonable basis to represent, and does represent, that the function is properly performed.

(iii) An insurer is not required to include in its system of supervision a producer's recommendations to consumers of products other than the annuities offered by the insurer.

(7) A producer shall not dissuade, or attempt to dissuade, a consumer from:

(a) truthfully responding to an insurer's request for confirmation of suitability information;

(b) filing a complaint; or

(c) cooperating with the investigation of a complaint.

(8)(a) Sales made in compliance with FINRA requirements pertaining to suitability and supervision of annuity transactions shall satisfy the requirements under this rule. This subsection applies to FINRA broker-dealer sales of variable annuities and fixed annuities if the suitability and supervision is similar to those applied to variable annuity sales. However, nothing in this subsection shall limit the commissioner's ability to enforce, including investigate, the provisions of this rule.

(b) For Subsection(8)(a) to apply, an insurer shall:

(i) monitor the FINRA member broker-dealer using information collected in the normal course of an insurer's business; and

(ii) provide to the FINRA member broker-dealer information and reports that are reasonably appropriate to assist the FINRA member broker-dealer to maintain its supervision system.

R590-230-6. Producer Training.

A producer may not solicit the sale of an annuity product unless the producer has adequate knowledge of the product to recommend the annuity and the producer is in compliance with the insurer's standards for product training.

R590-230-7. Compliance Mitigation and Penalties.

(1) An insurer is responsible for compliance with this rule. If a violation occurs, either because of the action or inaction of the insurer or its producer, the commissioner may order:

(a) an insurer to take reasonably appropriate corrective action for any consumer harmed by the insurer's, or by its producer's, violation of this rule;

(b) a producer to take reasonably appropriate corrective action for any consumer harmed by the producer's violation of this rule; and

(c) appropriate penalties and sanctions.

(2) Any applicable penalty under 31A-2-308 for a violation of this rule may be reduced or eliminated if corrective action for the consumer was taken promptly after a violation was discovered or the violation was not part of a pattern or practice.

R590-230-8. Records.

Insurers and producers shall maintain or be able to make available to the commissioner records of the information collected from the consumer and other information used in making the recommendations that were the basis for insurance transactions for the current calendar year plus three years after the insurance transaction is completed by the insurer. An insurer is permitted, but shall not be required, to maintain documentation on behalf of a producer.

R590-230-9. Enforcement Date.

The commissioner will begin enforcing the provisions of this rule 60 days from the rule's effective date.

R590-230-10. Severability.

If any provision of this rule or the application of it to any person or circumstance is for any reason held to be invalid, the remainder of the rule and the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected by it.

KEY

insurance, annuity suitability

Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment

March 26, 2012

Notice of Continuation

June 2, 2009

Authorizing, Implemented, or Interpreted Law

31A-2-201; 31A-22-425;


Additional Information

Contact

For questions regarding the content or application of rules under Title R590, please contact the promulgating agency (Insurance, Administration). A list of agencies with links to their homepages is available at http://www.utah.gov/government/agencylist.html or from http://www.rules.utah.gov/contact/agencycontacts.htm.