New York State
Insurance Department


ISSUED 5/06/2003

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DEPARTMENT MOVES TOWARDS FULL ELECTRONIC RATE AND FORM FILING FOR PROPERTY/CASUALTY INSURERS
Streamlined Process Provides Expeditious Review by Department, Cost Savings for Insurers

        Superintendent of Insurance Gregory V. Serio today announced a new product approval initiative aimed at full electronic filing of all New York Property and Casualty rate and form filings. The Department’s ambitious undertaking will include summer educational seminars designed to move the industry towards full electronic filling through the NAIC’s System for Electronic Rate and Form Filing (SERFF) by the fall. SERFF was first made available to insurers in May of 2000.

        "SERFF eliminates incomplete filings, significantly reduces review and processing time, and addresses the changing needs of consumers and now offers full integration of the Department’s overall efforts towards ‘speed to market’ insurance products," said Serio. "Increasing the efficiency and responsiveness of the filing process through electronic filing emphasizes the Department’s commitment to the utilization of electronic technology for the benefit of New York State insurers and consumers."

        All Property and Casualty insurers will soon be able to utilize SERFF exclusively. The Department held a highly successful educational seminar earlier this year and encourages insurers that are not currently utilizing SERFF to contact the Department for education assistance.

        SERFF allows insurers to obtain state approval by submitting policy forms and rate filings electronically. The evaluation, review and approval process is also completed in this electronic environment. An important component of SERFF is the submissions requirements database, which helps eliminate incomplete filings and improves the quality of the submissions by detailing what insurers must file. These capabilities provide for a more efficient transaction between insurers and the Department and significantly reduce review and process filing time.

        SERFF addresses the changing needs of consumers as a key part of the Department’s overall efforts to "speed to market" insurance products in a marketplace of swiftly emerging financial services convergence, globalization, and e-commerce. The System facilitates the development of product innovations and enhancements, which can now be made available to consumers in a more timely manner. It also provides the Department with increased review and analysis capabilities that enable examiners to focus on key regulatory components of insurance products that will better protect the insurance buying public.

        "SERFF represents meaningful change in the New York regulating process and has been widely accepted by the New York insurance industry. In fact, one company that makes 5,000 filings a year reported that the use of SERFF has saved them over $430,000 a year, that’s over $85 per filing and over $4,000 for a 50 state filing," Serio added.

        The average review time for a SERFF filing is 16 days and many states review filings on a same day basis. Over 94% of all filings are approved without the need for additional correspondence between the company and insurance departments.


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