A.M. Best Company is a full-service worldwide insurance company rating organization with 110 years of history. Its flagship publication, Best’s Insurance Reports, offers the largest coverage of insurers in the United States. Registered members (free) can access Best ratings of insurance companies.
Compliance & Ethics Forum for Life Insurers (CEFLI) has superceded the Insurance Marketplace Standards Association (IMSA), which was created by the insurance industry to promote high standards of ethical conduct in the way insurance companies conduct business with consumers. CEFLI’s mission is “To provide a forum to serve the needs of the life insurance industry’s compliance and ethics professionals.” While much of the website is only accessible to “members”, it is still most reassuring that there is an organization focused solely on compliance and ethics issues in the life insurance industry.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is a voluntary organization of the chief insurance regulatory officials of the 50 states. Its primary function is to help those regulatory officials protect the interests of insurance consumers. This is an extremely user-friendly web site that provides links to each state insurance department, information on how to file a formal complaint, a very excellent and current list of consumer "alerts", and a set of very helpful consumer guides on various insurance products.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was created in 1934 to restore investor confidence in our capital markets by providing investors and the markets with more reliable information and clear rules of honest dealing. Variable life insurance products are considered to be securities and must therefore register with the SEC. The web site provides access to the prospectuses of every variable life insurance and every variable annuity ever submitted to the SEC.
The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) comprises more than 700 state and local associations of life underwriters representing the interests of approximately 200,000 agents and their associates nationwide. The Association’s mission is to advocate for a positive legislative and regulatory environment, enhance business and professional skills, and promote the ethical conduct of its members. Any consumer can view the NAIFA Code of Ethics and can access a list of NAIFA members in their local area.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) was created in July 2007 through the consolidation of NASD and the member regulation, enforcement and arbitration functions of the New York Stock Exchange. It is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation and complementary compliance and technology-based services and administers the largest dispute resolution forum for investors and registered firms. There are lots of resources for new and experienced investors.
Founded in 1928, the mission of the Society of Financial Service Professionals (FSP) is to promote professionalism among its nearly 17,000 members through the highest quality continuing education and the maintenance of high ethical standards and conduct. Society members have earned recognized professional credentials in the financial services industry, or are working towards attaining a professional credential. The Society publishes the Journal of Financial Service Professionals which is one of the oldest and most prestigious journals in the financial planning field.
The American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education Group (ALI CLE) has superceded the American Law Institute-American Bar Association (ALI-ABA) collaboration which, since 1947, had sponsored an extensive program of training programs for legal professionals in a variety of practice areas including life insurance / financial services litigation. ALI-CLE remains committed to the work of promoting continuing professional education for attorneys throughout the United States and to creating standards to ensure quality and relevance in CLE programs. Consumers can view all of the course offerings and other educational resources available to attorneys.
Defense Research Institute (DRI) is the international organization of attorneys defending the interests of business and individuals in civil litigation. DRI provides numerous educational and informational resources to DRI members and offers many opportunities for liaison among defense trial lawyers, Corporate America, and state and local defense organizations.
The National Association of Estate Planners & Councils (NAEPC) is a national organization of professional estate planners and affiliated Estate Planning Councils focused on establishing and monitoring the highest professional and educational standards. NAEPC fosters public awareness of the quality services rendered by professionals who meet these standards. A visitor to this web site can find a local estate planning professional with one or more of the following designations – CPA, CLU, AEP, CFP, CTFA, ChFC, ELFS.
Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA) is an international organization whose members represent investors in disputes with the securities industry. Its mission is to promote the interests of the public investor in securities and commodities arbitration by 1) protecting public investors from abuses in the arbitration process, 2) making securities and commodities arbitration as just and fair as systematically possible, and 3) creating a level playing field for the public investor in securities and commodities arbitration. PIABA also publishes the PIABA Bar Journal (currently in its 19th edition), and Mr. Affleck recently authored an article that appeared in the Fall edition.
The members of Securities Experts’ Roundtable, Inc. (SER) provide consulting, expert testimonial, or other services in securities and commodities dispute resolution and related matters. SER facilitates the sharing of ideas and information concerning issues common to members by conducting conferences, seminars, and meetings to provide continuing education and assist members in improving their professional conduct, performance, and expertise. The website provides a membership list as well as an index of various areas of expertise.