October 22, 2001
(617) 521-7333

Division Of Insurance Rolls Out Service Upgrades To Licensees
Web-based initiatives aimed at improving service and reducing costs

(BOSTON, MA) Insurance Commissioner Linda L. Ruthardt today announced the rollout of the agency's new on-line license renewal system for agents who sell insurance products in Massachusetts. The password protected on-line renewal system can be accessed by insurers via the web and allows for immediate notification to the Division of agent renewals, saving time and administrative costs to insurers and Division staff.

The implementation of the agent renewal system follows last year's successful pilot program in which more than a dozen insurers participated and were able to renew more than 36-thousand agent licenses by accessing the new system. Insurers need only check-off which agents they will be canceling and the system automatically tabulates the renewal cost to each company. With full implementation of the renewal system, more than 12-hundred companies throughout the U.S. will now be able to renew an estimated 160-thousand insurance agent appointments annually.

Jennifer Davis Carey, Director of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, applauded the Division's web-based renewal system. "Making consumers and businesses access to government resources more immediate while ensuring security is at the forefront of Governor Swift's E-government project. I'm pleased to see that the Division is working in concert with these goals and finding ways to improve services through the emerging technology," said Director Carey.

In acknowledging the efforts of her staff in developing the agent renewal system, the first of several on-line customer services advances for the Division (see page 2), Commissioner Ruthardt said, "Anything we can do to expedite the regulatory process and reduce costs also helps the ultimate consumer, the policyholders."

Commissioner Ruthardt also thanked former Insurance Committee Co-Chair, Representative Nancy Flavin and current Co-Chair, Representative Ron Mariano for their efforts to ensure legislative funding for the project.

"This is a prime example of efficient spending that delivered the intended result; improved services in less time and at less cost which ultimately benefits policyholders," said Representative Flavin.

"I am please to see that our cooperative effort has come to fruition. This new system is among the first steps towards the goal of streamlining the business of insurance in the Commonwealth," commented Representative Mariano.

Allmerica Financial was among the life insurers who participated in the on-line license renewal pilot program. Kerry Lawlor, Director of Corporate Licensing for the Worcester, Massachusetts-based insurer, said the on-line renewal process is already saving time and money. "We have been able to reduce our agent renewal processing time by more than 75% through this program."

More Division of Insurance On-Line Service Enhancements

  • In September, the Division became one of 16 states in the nation to accept electronic policy form and rate filings for most lines of insurance via the System for Electronic Rate and Form Filing (SERFF). SERFF is a national application that assists insurers in reducing the time and cost involved in making regulatory filings via on-line transmissions.
  • As the requirements for policy form filings differ from state-to-state, the Division has introduced a web-based checklist system for all proposed property and casualty and life, accident and health insurance products. In order to expedite the review of proposed products, insurers now check to ensure that those products meet the legal requirements in Massachusetts. The introduction of the checklist system has had a dramatic impact on product review within the Division. Filings are now reviewed and approved within 30-45 days.
  • The Division has also begun development of a broker license renewal system that mirrors the new agent-renewal system. Once implemented, more than 16-thousand brokers will be able to renew their licenses on-line.