Associations & Groups

Mapping State Agendas In 2024 

Legislatures and regulators are tackling a host of new initiatives

by Melissa Bova

Ms. Bova is Vice President, State Affairs, with Finseca.

At Finseca, our mission is in our name, FINancial SECurity for All. Our members work to pave the path to financial security for millions of individuals and families through holistic financial planning. From crafting personalized investment strategies to navigating insurance landscapes and retirement planning, they work collaboratively to ensure that every aspect of their client’s financial journeys is carefully considered and strategically aligned with their unique goals and circumstances. The reason why is captured by a recent Ernst & Young study, which exhaustively analyzed how life insurance — especially permanent policies, investments, and deferred income annuities — outperforms investment-only or investment-plus-other-products approaches in every combination.  

That’s why we closely monitor activity in all 50 states, where legislators and regulators are tackling a host of issues, including long-term care, taxes, and standards of conduct. Here’s an overview of what we’re mapping for state agendas this year. 

 Standards Of Conduct 

Standards of conduct are not just being discussed at the federal level; in 2020, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) adopted an Annuity Suitability & Best Interest Standard (Regulation #275). Since that leadership displayed by the NAIC, 43 states have adopted the standard, with more working through adoption and the last few beginning the legislative or regulatory process this year. Adoption of this model has and will continue to show what can be done when regulators and industry work together to protect consumers while ensuring their continued access to advice.  

While different than the NAIC Model Regulation, Finseca will continue to address some of our key concerns with NY Regulation 187 (Suitability & Best Interest in Life Insurance & Annuity Transactions), and California is expected to adopt its version of a best interest standard for annuities in its 2024 session. 

 NAIC Activity—AI And Privacy 

The NAIC ended 2023 with the unanimous adoption of a Model Bulletin on the Use of Algorithms, Predictive Models, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Systems by Insurers and began this year by working through another draft of the Insurance Consumer Privacy Protection Model Law (#674). Now that the NAIC has announced Chairs of all letter committees, task forces and working groups for 2024, plus each groups various charges, the NAIC will hit the ground running at its Spring meeting in Phoenix. AI and privacy activity aren’t limited to the NAIC, though, and a number of states are moving forward with legislation and/or regulations in both spaces in 2024. 

 National Council Of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) 

NCOIL, which is made up of legislators serving on state insurance and financial institution committees around the entire nation, will continue to review and develop model legislation that will further consumer access to advice and preserve state jurisdiction over insurance. We expect NCOIL to continue to lead and educate policymakers through 2024 on key initiatives. 

 Long-Term Care 

Washington State was the first in the nation to adopt a state-funded long-term care program, and legislation is expected to pass that will make additional adjustments to the existing law. The proposed bill would allow portability of benefits, adjust the $36,500 benefit to inflation, allow those who were given an exemption previously to opt back into the program and develop a supplemental private long-term care insurance option. California’s Long-Term Care Task Force’s final official obligation, an actuarial analysis of potential long-term care solutions, was released at the end of 2023, but legislation has not been introduced in California reflective of that analysis. Keep an eye on states such as Minnesota, which just released its long-term care report—that takes a different approach from what we have seen in WA and CA, Massachusetts is expected to put out an RFP in 2024 on the same issue and NY has re-introduced a bill that is markedly similar to the Washington proposal. Whether red or blue, states will continue to have discussions on long-term care. Finseca has put together a long-term care task force focused on ensuring the products the profession already offers are part of the solution—whether states are considering tax incentives or state-funded programs. 

 Budgets & Taxes 

Adoption of this model has and will continue to show what can be done when regulators and industry work together to protect consumers while ensuring their continued access to advice...

States still reveling in federal COVID dollars will begin to feel the pre-COVID budget pinch in 2024. California and New York have already faced tens of billions of dollars in budget deficits last year, and those deficits will spread to other states as COVID funds run out. In response to these budget constraints, we are beginning to see a trickle down of the wealth tax discussions that began at the federal level. Legislation that would tax net worth and mark-to-market taxes are being introduced in a number of states and Finseca will be keeping a close eye on state activity as it pertains to expansion of taxes to ensure that any effort to balance state budgets does not include a tax on the profession and the important work you do. 

 Junk Fees 

As some states begin to adopt regulations or consider legislation to eliminate ‘junk fees’, Finseca is working with our partners to ensure that the profession and the compensation you receive is not caught in the crosshairs of these efforts which are generally going after items such as ticket and resort fees.  

 Recruitment, Retention & Diversity 

As the average age of people in the profession increases, Finseca will continue to advocate initiatives that will encourage a more diverse group of individuals to join the profession and improve the retention rate of those within their first five years as an advisor. We face a $7 trillion gap between what people have saved for retirement and what they will ultimately require and a $12 trillion dollar coverage gap. One of the key ways to address these gaps is to have more people serving the individuals who need financial protection the most. Eliminating pre-licensing hours, allowing producer exams to be in more than one language, continuing online proctoring of exams, and encouraging mentorship programs are some of the initiatives Finseca will be working with legislators and regulators this year to address our recruitment, retention, and diversity needs. 

 Elections 

You have already seen it in the news, but this is a major election year, and elections will be in the back of legislators’ and regulators’ minds as they consider various pieces of legislation and regulations. This will spur some more controversial actions that could hinder election votes, but those items that may not be seen as movement in 2024 will likely come back to the forefront in 2025. 

 Finseca will be working with our joint trades (ACLI, IRI, NAIFA, NAFA, and more) to have a united voice as it pertains to joint legislative priorities. With more than 7,000 state legislators across all 50 states and 50 regulators, plus staff, we need everyone’s help to tell the story of this noble profession and achieve the goal of Financial Security for All.