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2000 - Rules and Regulations


PART 343—CONSUMER PROTECTION IN SALES OF INSURANCE

Sec.

343.10 Purpose and scope.
343.20 Definitions.
343.30 Prohibited practices.
343.40 What you must disclose.
343.50 Where insurance activities may take place.
343.60 Qualification and licensing requirements for insurance sales personnel.

Appendix A to Part 343—Consumer Grievance Process

AUTHORITY: 12 U.S.C. 1819 (Seventh and Tenth); 12 U.S.C. 1831x.

Source: The provisions of this part 343 appear at 65 Fed. Reg. 75843, December 4, 2000, effective October 1, 2001, except as otherwise noted.

§ 343.10  Purpose and scope.

This part establishes consumer protections in connection with retail sales practices, solicitations, advertising, or offers of any insurance product or annuity to a consumer by:

(a)  Any bank; or

(b)  Any other person that is engaged in such activities at an office of the bank or on behalf of the bank.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 343.10]

§ 343.20  Definitions.

As used in this part:

(a)  Affiliate means a company that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with another company.

(b)  Bank means an FDIC-insured state-chartered commercial or savings bank that is not a member of the Federal Reserve System and for which the FDIC is the appropriate federal banking agency pursuant to section 3(q) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 U.S.C. 1813(q)).

(c)  Company means any corporation, partnership, business trust, association or similar organization, or any other trust (unless by its terms the trust must terminate within twenty-five years or not later than twenty-one years and ten months after the death of individuals living on the effective date of the trust). It does not include any corporation the majority of the shares of which are owned by the United States or by any State, or a qualified family partnership, as defined in section 2(o)(10) of the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended (12 U.S.C. 1841(o)(10)).

(d)  Consumer means an individual who purchases, applies to purchase, or is solicited to purchase from you insurance products or annuities primarily for personal, family, or household purposes.

(e)  Control of a company has the same meaning as in section 3(w)(5) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 U.S.C. 1813(w)(5)).

(f)  Domestic violence means the occurrence of one or more of the following acts by a current or former family member, household member, intimate partner, or caretaker:

(1)  Attempting to cause or causing or threatening another person physical harm, severe emotional distress, psychological trauma, rape, or sexual assault;

(2)  Engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts toward another person, including following the person without proper authority, under circumstances that place the person in reasonable fear of bodily injury or physical harm;

(3)  Subjecting another person to false imprisonment; or

(4)  Attempting to cause or causing damage to property so as to intimidate or attempt to control the behavior of another person.

(g)  Electronic media includes any means for transmitting messages electronically between you and a consumer in a format that allows visual text to be displayed on equipment, for example, a personal computer monitor.

(h)  Office means the premises of a bank where retail deposits are accepted from the public.

(i)  Subsidiary has the same meaning as in section 3(w)(4) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 U.S.C. 1813(w)(4)).

(j)(1)  You means:

(i)  A bank; or

(ii)  Any other person only when the person sells, solicits, advertises, or offers an insurance product or annuity to a consumer at an office of the bank or on behalf of a bank.

(2)  For purposes of this definition, activities on behalf of a bank include activities where a person, whether at an office of the bank or at another location sells, solicits, advertises, or offers an insurance product or annuity and at least one of the following applies:

(i)  The person represents to a consumer that the sale, solicitation, advertisement, or offer of any insurance product or annuity is by or on behalf of the bank;

(ii)  The bank refers a consumer to a seller of insurance products or annuities and the bank has a contractual arrangement to receive commissions or fees derived from a sale of an insurance product or annuity resulting from that referral; or

(iii)  Documents evidencing the sale, solicitation, advertising, or offer of an insurance product or annuity identify or refer to the bank.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 343.20]

§ 343.30  Prohibited practices.

(a)  Anticoercion and antitying rules.  You may not engage in any practice that would lead a consumer to believe that an extension of credit, in violation of section 106(b) of the Bank Holding Company Act Amendments of 1970 (12 U.S.C. 1972), is conditional upon either:

(1)  The purchase of an insurance product or annuity from the bank or any of its affiliates; or

(2)  An agreement by the consumer not to obtain, or a prohibition on the consumer from obtaining, an insurance product or annuity from an unaffiliated entity.

(b)  Prohibition on misrepresentations generally.  You may not engage in any practice or use any advertisement at any office of, or on behalf of, the bank or a subsidiary of the bank that could mislead any person or otherwise cause a reasonable person to reach an erroneous belief with respect to:

(1)  The fact that an insurance product or annuity sold or offered for sale by you or any subsidiary of the bank is not backed by the Federal government or the bank, or the fact that the insurance product or annuity is not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation;

(2)  In the case of an insurance product or annuity that involves investment risk, the fact that there is an investment risk, including the potential that principal may be lost and that the product may decline in value; or

(3)  In the case of a bank or subsidiary of the bank at which insurance products or annuities are sold or offered for sale, the fact that:

(i)  The approval of an extension of credit to a consumer by the bank or subsidiary may not be conditioned on the purchase of an insurance product or annuity by the consumer from the bank or a subsidiary of the bank; and

(ii)  The consumer is free to purchase the insurance product or annuity from another source.

(c)  Prohibition on domestic violence discrimination.  You may not sell or offer for sale, as principal, agent, or broker, any life or health insurance product if the status of the applicant or insured as a victim of domestic violence or as a provider of services to victims of domestic violence is considered as a criterion in any decision with regard to insurance underwriting, pricing, renewal, or scope of coverage of such product, or with regard to the payment of insurance claims on such product, except as required or expressly permitted under state law.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 343.30]

§ 343.40  What you must disclose.

(a)  Insurance disclosures.  In connection with the initial purchase of an insurance product or annuity by a consumer from you, you must disclose to the consumer, except to the extent the disclosure would not be accurate, that:

(1)  The insurance product or annuity is not a deposit or other obligation of, or guaranteed by, the bank or an affiliate of the bank;

(2)  The insurance product or annuity is not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or any other agency of the United States, the bank, or (if applicable) an affiliate of the bank; and

(3)  In the case of an insurance product or annuity that involves an investment risk, there is investment risk associated with the product, including the possible loss of value.

(b)  Credit disclosure.  In the case of an application for credit in connection with which an insurance product or annuity is solicited, offered, or sold, you must disclose that the bank may not condition an extension of credit on either:

(1)  The consumer's purchase of an insurance product or annuity from the bank or any of its affiliates; or

(2)  The consumer's agreement not to obtain, or a prohibition on the consumer from obtaining, an insurance product or annuity from an unaffiliated entity.

(c)  Timing and method of disclosures.(1)  In general.  The disclosures required by paragraph (a) of this section must be provided orally and in writing before the completion of the initial sale of an insurance product or annuity to a consumer. The disclosure required by paragraph (b) of this section must be made orally and in writing at the time the consumer applies for an extension of credit in connection with which an insurance product or annuity is solicited, offered, or sold.

(2)  Exception for transactions by mail.  If a sale of an insurance product or annuity is conducted by mail, you are not required to make the oral disclosures required by paragraph (a) of this section. If you take an application for credit by mail, you are not required to make the oral disclosure required by paragraph (b).

(3)  Exception for transactions by telephone.  If a sale of an insurance product or annuity is conducted by telephone, you may provide the written disclosures required by paragraph (a) of this section by mail within 3 business days beginning on the first business day after the sale, excluding Sundays and the legal public holidays specified in 5 U.S.C. 6103(a). If you take an application for credit by telephone, you may provide the written disclosure required by paragraph (b) of this section by mail, provided you mail it to the consumer within three days beginning the first business day after the application is taken, excluding Sundays and the legal public holidays specified in 5 U.S.C. 6103(a).

(4)  Electronic form of disclosures.  (i)  Subject to the requirements of section 101(c) of the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (12 U.S.C. 7001(c)), you may provide the written disclosures required by paragraph (a) and (b) of this section through electronic media instead of on paper, if the consumer affirmatively consents to receiving the disclosures electronically and if the disclosures are provided in a format that the consumer may retain or obtain later, for example, by printing or storing electronically (such as by downloading).

(ii)  Any disclosure required by paragraphs (a) or (b) of this section that is provided by electronic media is not required to be provided orally.

(5)  Disclosures must be readily understandable.  The disclosures provided shall be conspicuous, simple, direct, readily understandable, and designed to call attention to the nature and significance of the information provided. For instance, you may use the following disclosures in visual media, such as television broadcasting, ATM screens, billboards, signs, posters and written advertisements and promotional materials, as appropriate and consistent with paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section:

* NOT A DEPOSIT

* NOT FDIC-INSURED

* NOT INSURED BY ANY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCY

* NOT GUARANTEED BY THE BANK

* MAY GO DOWN IN VALUE

(6)  Disclosures must be meaningful.  (i)  You must provide the disclosures required by paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section in a meaningful form. Examples of the types of methods that could call attention to the nature and significance of the information provided include:

(A)  A plain-language heading to call attention to the disclosures;

(B)  A typeface and type size that are easy to read;

(C)  Wide margins and ample line spacing;

(D)  Boldface or italics for key words; and

(E)  Distinctive type size, style, and graphic devices, such as shading or sidebars, when the disclosures are combined with other information.

(ii)  You have not provided the disclosures in a meaningful form if you merely state to the consumer that the required disclosures are available in printed material, but do not provide the printed material when required and do not orally disclose the information to the consumer when required.

(iii)  With respect to those disclosures made through electronic media for which paper or oral disclosures are not required, the disclosures are not meaningfully provided if the consumer may bypass the visual text of the disclosures before purchasing an insurance product or annuity.

(7)  Consumer acknowledgment.  You must obtain from the consumer, at the time a consumer receives the disclosures required under paragraphs (a) or (b) of this section, or at the time of the initial purchase by the consumer of an insurance product or annuity, a written acknowledgment by the consumer that the consumer received the disclosures. You may permit a consumer to acknowledge receipt of the disclosures electronically or in paper form. If the disclosures required under paragraphs (a) or (b) of this section are provided in connection with a transaction that is conducted by telephone, you must:

(i)  Obtain an oral acknowledgment of receipt of the disclosures and maintain sufficient documentation to show that the acknowledgment was given; and

(ii)  Make reasonable efforts to obtain a written acknowledgment from the consumer.

(d)  Advertisements and other promotional material for insurance products or annuities.  The disclosures described in paragraph (a) of this section are required in advertisements and promotional material for insurance products or annuities unless the advertisements and promotional materials are of a general nature describing or listing the services or products offered by the bank.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 343.40]

§ 343.50  Where insurance activities may take place.

(a)  General rule.  A bank must, to the extent practicable, keep the area where the bank conducts transactions involving insurance products or annuities physically segregated from areas where retail deposits are routinely accepted from the general public, identify the areas where insurance product or annuity sales activities occur, and clearly delineate and distinguish those areas from the areas where the bank's retail deposit-taking activities occur.

(b)  Referrals.  Any person who accepts deposits from the public in an area where such transactions are routinely conducted in the bank may refer a consumer who seeks to purchase an insurance product or annuity to a qualified person who sells that product only if the person making the referral receives no more than a one-time, nominal fee of a fixed dollar amount for each referral that does not depend on whether the referral results in a transaction.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 343.50]

§ 343.60  Qualification and licensing requirements for insurance sales personnel.

A bank may not permit any person to sell or offer for sale any insurance product or annuity in any part of its office or on its behalf, unless the person is at all times appropriately qualified and licensed under applicable State insurance licensing standards with regard to the specific products being sold or recommended.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 343.60]

Appendix A to Part 343--Consumer Grievance Process

Any consumer who believes that any bank or any other person selling, soliciting, advertising, or offering insurance products or annuities to the consumer at an office of the bank or on behalf of the bank has violated the requirements of this part should contact the Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection (DSC), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, at the following address: 550 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20429, or telephone 202--942--3100 or 800--934--3342, or e-mail dcainternetfdic.gov.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. Part 343, Appendix A]

[Appendix A to Part 343 amended at 67 FR 44351, July 2, 2002, effective June 30, 2002]


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