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State Links to NAIC License Hub

Quicker licensing marks advance in bringing products to market.

Addressing the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act's speed-to-market imperative, The New York State Insurance Department (New York) has added Web-enabled licensing and terminating of agents through an upgrade of its LION (Licensing Information Online Network) system.

LION supports the NAIC's Producer Information Network (PIN) and Producer Database (PDB) components of the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR), a hub designed to link state insurance regulators.

NIPR is a not-for-profit affiliate of NAIC created under the Association's State Regulation 2000 (SR2000) GLB compliance initiative, whose objectives include eliminating agent licensing and approval barriers and increased uniformity and consistency in communications across state boundaries. GLB mandates these objectives through its provision to allow multi-state insurance agency licensing.

Originally rolled out in 1999 to tie the New York Department's Licensing Bureau's disparate systems together, LION, a product developed by Aithent (New York), is now ready to go live online with PIN and PDB, enabling seamless interaction with NIPR, according to Sal Castiglione, assistant deputy superintendent and bureau chief for consumer services and licensing, New York State Insurance Department.

Web-based Applications

"We are at the point where LION is going to allow New York state license applicants to apply over the Internet," Castiglione says. In the past, an individual would have to apply directly to all of the states in which he or she wished to be licensed. Through LION, "an individual will be able to bring up an original or renewal application online, enter the information and submit it," he adds. LION then sends the application to NIPR, which will electronically route the information to all of the concerned states to verify the accuracy of the applicant's information and validate that licensing requirements have been met. Payment will also be collected and routed online. "What took weeks in the past will now take minutes," Castiglione says.

Commenting on the importance of LION for speed-to-market, Castiglione says, "It's wonderful to be able to say a particular company has a new product to sell, but all the products in the world can't be sold unless the states can get individuals licensed as quickly and efficiently as possible," he says.

New York Leads Charge

Referring to the New York State Insurance Department's status as an industry bellwether, Castiglione says, "Many states are waiting to see what New York is going to do." By implementing the upgrade, he asserts, New York will provide that needed leadership. "GLB says, in effect, that in order for the states to continue to maintain control over the licensing, you've got to get 33 states into this NIPR program by 2002," Castiglione says. But, he adds, "you can get 47 states into the program and technically comply, but unless you get a state like New York, it's not going to be a success."

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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