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Big States Agree to Uniform Standards on Annuity Products

12/7/2003

CONTACT:
Tami Torres
850-413-2842

ANAHEIM, CA – Chief insurance regulators from California, Florida and Texas today signed a memorandum of agreement to provide a consistent set of standards for the approval of new annuity and life products. The landmark agreement provides insurers with the ability to make a single filing and, upon approval, to immediately begin marketing new products in those states.

"This agreement will allow insurers to get prompt and efficient review of new products while assuring the gold standard of protection for consumers," said California's Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi.

"This is a significant step forward on our road to insurance modernization and improvement of consumer protection," said Texas Department of Insurance Commissioner Jose Montemayor.

"This agreement provides a single set of standards for insurers to write new business in three of the largest insurance producing states in the nation, enabling us to maximize the regulatory resources of participating states and, ultimately, giving consumers more choices," said Tom Gallagher, Florida's Chief Financial Officer and agency head for the Florida Department of Financial Services.

Kevin McCarty, Director of Florida's Office of Insurance Regulation, agreed. "This is a major step forward in providing insurers the opportunity to more efficiently address market needs and more quickly make new products available," he said.

Beginning in the first quarter of 2004, participating insurers will be able to submit a single filing and, within 60 days or less, begin selling their products in California, Florida and Texas, where 26 percent of the nation's population resides.

Regulators from the three states believe that the agreement will also result in reduced administrative costs and support speed-to-market initiatives.

A number of other states have also expressed interest in the agreement initiated by California, Florida and Texas.