The National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) - a non-profit organization that works with agents, companies and regulators to facilitate the exchange of insurance licensing and reporting information, says increased transparency through technological developments and more uniformity in industry standards is key in restoring trust in the industry.
"Reputation and customer security is at stake, so it's especially important for insurance agencies to be organized and efficient in 2010," Maryellen Waggoner, executive director of NIPR, said in a release.
"Being vigilant about regulatory and licensing responsibilities internally ultimately affects the quality of customer experiences and protection policyholders receive from their agents. It will also help agents retain and build their customer base after a tough year."
Policyholders might not consider whether their insurance agents are meeting regulatory requirements, but fulfilling these requirements helps ensure insurance businesses are operating and reporting lawfully - and, therefore, keeping customers protected, the release said.
Meanwhile, advanced digital tools are cutting down on the red tape associated with licensing and regulatory tasks, making it more efficient and cost-effective for agents to file required paperwork, NIPR said.
Keeping costs low helps agents run lean, and reducing the time associated with administrative works frees up more time for agents to work with their customers.
"We know more people are conducting business online; this past year we've seen a 114 percent increase in traffic on our own Web site," said Waggoner. "Not only is it apparent that technologically advanced tools are making a difference in the insurance industry, but we expect agents to demand additional digital capabilities in 2010 to cut down further on costs and complications." will not only make it easier for agents to meet reporting requirements, but also for regulators to keep an accurate pulse on the industry and protect consumers.
As part of a continual effort to create a one-stop shop for submitting regulatory required documents online, NIPR is committed to increasing the number of jurisdictions that participate in the system as well as partnering to harmonize more processes.
In order to do this, NIPR occasionally partners with other groups to harmonize data. Recently, NIPR signed an agreement with the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development (ACORD) to fuse specific NIPR processes with existing ACORD Messaging Library data and message definitions in a major move toward improving the producer licensing and appointment processes. NIPR also works closely with its Authorized Business Partners (ABP) to integrate its data with ABP's suite of products and services, giving users more options to support the licensing and compliance processes needed for resident producer licensing and renewals.
"Centralized industry standards will be key in 2010 for keeping our industry healthy and efficient, ultimately restoring faith among our customers," said Waggoner.
Melanie Rodier has worked as a print and broadcast journalist for over 10 years, covering business and finance, general news, and film trade news. Prior to joining Wall Street & Technology in April 2007, Melanie lived in Paris, where she worked for the International Herald ... View Full Bio