Keeping all your forms in harmonyBy Ron Beiderman | March 15, 2018
Sending a cancellation or nonrenewal notice to a policyholder usually shouldn’t usually be fraught with risk. After all, insurance contracts often provide specific terms for policy cancellation based on applicable state laws.
When laws change
But what happens when states change their laws and require, for example, that all notices mailed must now have a tracking number? Or when they require that all notices must now contain a reason for cancellation?
Insurers need to act expeditiously to update their forms that are outdated and ensure that their cancellation and nonrenewal provisions are consistent with the law. Failure to update the language and subsequently not follow the required process could, at a minimum, call into question what an insurer thought was an effective notice of cancellation. It might also result in claims from policyholders that insurers thought were off their books.
Updating ISO forms
At ISO, our compliance team monitors legislation in all jurisdictions and regularly updates our forms to respond to changes in state laws.
For example, in July 2017, we updated 18 insurance forms in Nebraska to add that notices sent via first-class mail must now have an Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) or a similar tracking method approved by the United States Postal Service.
A few months later, we updated 21 forms in Illinois to specify, in part, that notices must now say why the insurer didn’t renew the policy.
In both states, the changes affected major commercial lines, including commercial auto, general liability, and inland marine.
Bring harmony to your own forms
Many insurers, though, don’t only use ISO forms. They modify ISO forms or develop their own forms to meet their specific business needs. Of course, these forms also need to be kept updated to respond to changes in state laws as may be appropriate.
The question is, how can you find all your proprietary forms that need to be updated and ensure they all have the latest language?
It’s not easy.
A Novarica report published last year found that locating the relevant forms and making these types of updates can be difficult for insurers of all sizes. The report, based on conversations with chief information officers (CIOs) for large and midsize insurers, found that insurers are often forced to use generic document management software and shared drives to manage forms.
The report also found that some insurers are querying multiple databases during forms development, which can be a significant drain on resources and delay speed to market.
Novarica found that many CIOs are considering third-party solutions to address these challenges and expect the tools to have a major impact on forms management.
Some insurers have already begun to adopt solutions, such as ISO’s Mozart Form Composer. Mozart is an innovative forms management tool and product development platform that can enable insurers to easily research, create, and distribute products, providing efficiencies in time to market—for both new products and critical coverage updates. It also serves as a centralized repository and library for both an insurer’s proprietary policy forms and the ISO forms they license.
Consider the examples above. ISO updated cancellation and nonrenewal wording in a total of 39 forms in Nebraska and Illinois. If you used proprietary forms in those states, how long would it take you to:
- Identify the language that needs to be updated?
- Find all your forms that contain that language?
- Manually update the language in all those forms?
With Mozart, you can avoid searching through multiple locations to find and update your proprietary forms. By using the Mozart match-wording functionality, simply highlight the text you’re planning to revise and click “Match Wording.” You’ll receive a listing of all your proprietary forms (and forms you license in the ISO library) that contain that wording. Then, select the documents to update. With another click of a button, Mozart does the rest.
By automating today’s manual processes, you can help increase operational efficiency, reduce compliance risk, and gain speed-to-market advantages.