Nothing Lasts Forever - Not Even a Compliance Approval

You understand the risks involved with running a successful insurance practice. And one of the key risks you face is the advertising you use to promote yourself and attract new clients. It’s highly visible, and it’s in writing, memorialized for regulators and litigation attorneys to potentially use against you. With so many regulations (which can even vary by state!) it’s crucial that your advertising meets all of the rules in order to ensure your long-term success.

So, you made a smart decision and had your advertising reviewed by a compliance expert. You’re golden now, right?

Well, not necessarily. Rules and regulations change, and so can the way in which they are interpreted and enforced by regulators. Over time, a piece of advertising that was acceptable 2 years ago, for example, could now land you in hot water if you haven’t kept up with the changing regulatory landscape. It could be that states realized that certain types of advertising are causing confusion for consumers. Or perhaps the sales practices associated with some advertising crossed the line, and now that same advertising is painting a target on your practice. A regulator might also decide to look more closely at certain advertisements if they have experienced an unusual number of consumer complaints or accusations of wrong-doing by the agent associated with the advertising.

But this is a risk you don’t need to accept. Just as you periodically evaluate your marketing materials to make sure they’re still relevant and effective, you should also update your advertising compliance approval.

Regulators expect insurance agents to always use advertising and marketing that is accurate, fair & balanced and current. For this reason, having a process in place to ensure a current approval of your materials should be a standard part of your business. Generally, you should aim to have your advertising approved at least annually, unless the approval letter you are given states otherwise. Any longer than this and you run the risk of using advertising that no longer complies with the regulations in effect and increases the potential for it to be used against you.

A regular review and re-approval process also allows you to consider the value of each piece of advertising you use; you can use this annual review process to weed out materials that aren’t working as you expected, and perhaps add new – and approved- materials to your sales process.

And the cost? Yes, it’s an added expense each year. However, typically the first review and approval of a piece of advertising is the hardest. Once the piece has been reviewed for basic advertising standards, the annual re-approval process is generally significantly easier, and thus less expensive.

Make sure you didn’t waste your time and money with a one-time approval that no longer protects you. Implement a re-approval process for all of your advertising materials, and you’ll sleep better knowing you’re taking the right steps to protect your practice, today and tomorrow.

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Maureen James - Co-owner/Principal at Summit Compliance Group, LLC

Experienced Compliance Professional with a demonstrated history of working in the insurance industry. Skilled in Securities, Disability Insurance, Retirement Planning, Fixed Annuities, and Management. Strong entrepreneurship professional. Summit Compliance is a proud DMI Marketing partner.

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    DMI was founded in 1989 to provide financial advisors three dynamic elements for success: marketing services, sales consulting and business management.

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