To advertise a policy other than the policy for which the author gave the statement, unless the statement clearly has some reasonable application to the second policy;
Which effects a change or omission which alters or distorts its meaning or intent as originally written; or
Which does not disclose the true nature of the insurance coverage under which the benefits were paid if it contains a description of benefit payments.
No advertisement may state or imply, unless true, that an individual, group of individuals, society, association or other organization approves or endorses an insurer or a policy. An advertisement shall disclose any affiliated relationship between the society, association or other organization and the insurer. If the insurer or the person or persons who own or control the insurer has formed or owns or controls the society, association or other organization, the advertisement shall clearly disclose this fact.
If a testimonial refers to benefits received under a policy, the insurer shall retain a summary of the pertinent claim information including claim number and date of loss with the advertisement in the advertising file required by sub. (30)
No advertisement may state or imply that a government publication commends or recommends the insurer or its policy.
(10) Jurisdictional licensing; approval by governmental agency. Ins 2.16(10)(a)(a)
No advertisement which may be seen or heard beyond the limits of the jurisdiction in which the insurer is licensed may state or imply licensing beyond those limits.
In any advertisement any reference to licensing shall contain an appropriate disclaimer that the viewer, listener, or reader should not construe the reference as an endorsement or implied endorsement of the insurer or its products by any agency of this state or the commissioner of insurance.
No advertisement may state or imply that the insurer, its financial condition or status, the payment of its claims, its policy forms or the merits or desirability of its policy forms or kinds or plans of insurance are approved, endorsed or accredited by any agency of this state or the federal government.
No advertisement may contain a reproduction of a portion of a state insurance department report of examination.
(11) Introductory, initial or special offers and limited enrollment periods. Ins 2.16(11)(a)
No advertisement may state or imply, unless true, that a policy or combination of policies is an introductory, initial or special offer and that the applicant will receive advantages not available at a later date by accepting the offer, that only a limited number of policies will be sold, that a time is fixed for the discontinuance of the sale of the policy advertised because of special advantages available in the policy, or that an individual will receive special advantages by enrolling within an open enrollment period or by a deadline date.
No advertisement may state or imply that enrollment under a policy is limited to a specific period unless the advertisement discloses the period of time permitted to enroll. This period of time may not be less than 10 days and not more than 40 days from the date of the advertisement.
If the insurer making an introductory, initial or special offer has previously offered the same or similar policy on the same basis or intends to repeat the current offer for the same or similar policy, the advertisement shall disclose this fact.
No insurer may establish for residents of this state a limited enrollment period within which a person may purchase an individual policy less than 6 months after the close of an earlier limited enrollment period for the same or similar policy. The restriction shall apply to all advertisements in newspapers, magazines and other periodicals circulated in this state, all mail advertisements sent to residents of this state and all radio and TV advertisements broadcast in this state. This restriction does not apply to the solicitation of enrollments under individual policies issued on a group basis.
Where an insurer is an affiliate of a group of insurers under common management and control, the word “insurer" for the purposes of this subsection means the insurance group. The requirements and restrictions applicable to an insurer shall apply to the insurance group.
(12) Mail order refusal form.
No person subject to this section may use a mail order advertisement which requires the recipient, in order to refuse a policy, to sign a refusal form and return it to a specified person or insurer.
(13) Group, quasi-group or special class implications.
No advertisement may state or imply, unless true, that prospective policyholders or members of a particular class of individuals become group or quasi-group members or are uniquely eligible for a special policy or coverage and will be subject to special rates or underwriting privileges or that a particular coverage or policy is exclusively for preferred risks, a particular segment of people, or a particular age group or groups.
An offer in an advertisement of free inspection of a policy or an offer of a premium refund shall not be a cure for misleading or deceptive statements contained in such advertisement.
An advertisement which refers to the provision in the policy advertised regarding the right to return the policy shall disclose the time limitation applicable to this right.
(15) Identification of plan or number of policies. Ins 2.16(15)(a)(a)
When an advertisement refers to a choice regarding benefit amounts, it shall disclose that the benefit amounts provided will depend upon the plan selected and that the premium will vary with the amount of the benefits.
When an advertisement refers to various benefits, all of which can be obtained only by purchasing 2 or more policies, it shall disclose that the benefits are provided only through a combination of such policies.
An advertisement which sets out the dollar amounts of claims paid, the number of persons insured or other statistical information shall identify the source of the statistical information. No person subject to this section may use an advertisement unless it accurately reflects all of the relevant facts. No advertisement may contain irrelevant statistical data.
No advertisement may imply that the statistical information given is derived from the insurer's experience under the policy advertised unless true. The advertisement shall specifically so state if the information applies to other policies or plans.
An advertisement which sets out the dollar amounts of claims paid shall also indicate the period during which such claims have been paid.
Contain untrue statements with respect to the time within which claims are paid;
State or imply that claim settlements will be liberal or generous or use words of similar import;
State or imply that claim settlements will be beyond the actual terms of the policy; or
Contain a description of a claim which involves unique or highly unusual circumstances.
(18) Statements about an insurer.
No advertisement may contain untrue statements or statements that by implication mislead with respect to the insurer's assets, corporate structure, financial standing, age, experience or relative position in the insurance business.
(19) Disparaging comparisons and statements.
No advertisement may directly or indirectly contain unfair or incomplete comparisons of policies or benefits or falsely or unfairly disparage, discredit or criticize competitors, their policies, services or business methods or competing marketing methods.
An advertisement for a policy with nonlevel premiums shall contain a prominent description of the premium changes.
No person subject to this section may describe in an advertisement a life insurance policy under which the insurer reserves the right to change the amount of the premium during the policy term unless this feature is prominently described in the advertisement.
Except as otherwise allowed under this paragraph, no advertisement may contain a statement or representation that an insured may withdraw under the terms of the policy any premiums paid for a life insurance policy. The advertisement may refer to amounts paid into an advance premium fund, which are intended to pay premiums at a future time, to the effect that they may be withdrawn under the conditions of the prepayment agreement. The advertisement may also refer to withdrawal rights under any unconditional premium refund offer.
No advertisement may state or imply that a pure endowment benefit is a “profit" or “return" on the premium paid rather than a policy benefit for which a specified premium is paid.
No advertisement may contain a description of or otherwise refer to nonguaranteed policy elements in a manner which is misleading or has the capacity or tendency to mislead.
No advertisement may state or imply that the payment or amount of nonguaranteed policy elements is guaranteed. If an insurance policy's or annuity contract's nonguaranteed policy elements are illustrated, they may not be more favorable to the policyholder than those based on the current interest rates, dividend scales, mortality tables, and other variable components currently used by the insurer for that insurance policy or annuity contract. The illustration shall contain a statement to the effect that the viewer, listener, or reader should not construe the nonguaranteed policy elements as guarantees or estimates of amounts to be paid in the future.
No advertisement may state or imply that illustrated nonguaranteed policy elements will be or can be sufficient at any future time to assure, without the further payment of premiums, the receipt of benefits, such as a paid-up policy, unless the advertisement clearly and precisely explains what benefits or coverage would be provided at the future time and under what conditions this would occur.
No advertisement may refer to dividends as “tax free"or contain words of similar import, unless the tax treatment of dividends is accurately explained and the nature of the dividend as a return of premium is indicated clearly.
A person subject to this section may address an advertisement for policies sold to students to the parents of students. No address on the advertisement may include any combination of words which imply that the correspondence is from a school, college, university or other education or training institution nor may it imply that the institution has endorsed the material or supplied the insurer with information about the student unless true.
All advertisements, including but not limited to information flyers used in the solicitation of insurance, shall contain clear identification that the advertisement comes from an insurer or intermediary, if this is the case, and these entities shall be clearly identified as insurers or intermediaries.
No return address on the advertisement may state or imply that the soliciting insurer or insurance intermediary is affiliated with a university, college, school, or other educational or training institution, unless true.
(23) Individual deferred annuity products or deposit funds.
For individual deferred annuity products or deposit funds, the following shall apply:
Any illustrations or statements containing or based upon interest rates higher than the guaranteed accumulation interest rates for the annuity product or deposit fund shall likewise set forth with equal prominence comparable illustrations or statements containing or based upon the guaranteed accumulation interest rates. No higher interest rate may be greater than those currently being credited by the insurer unless the higher rate has been publicly declared by the insurer with an effective date for new issues not more than 2 months subsequent to the date of declaration.
If an advertisement states the net premium accumulation interest rate, whether guaranteed or not, it shall also disclose in close proximity thereto and with equal prominence, the actual relationship between the gross and net premiums.
If any policy does not provide a cash surrender benefit prior to commencement of payment of any annuity benefits, any illustrations or statements concerning the policy shall prominently state that cash surrender benefits are not provided.
(24) Advertisements showing a specific rate of return on premiums or cash values.
All life insurance or annuity solicitations, representations, and advertisements used in Wisconsin which show a specific rate of return on premiums or cash values shall also show, in close proximity thereto and with equal prominence, the following:
A general statement describing the existence of first-year and annual expense charges, mortality charges and surrender charges which will be deducted from the premium before the interest rate is applied.
The guaranteed rate of interest paid on the cash value.
The amounts of the cash value or premium to which the guaranteed and the illustrated rates are applied; for example, an advertisement, representation, or solicitation shall disclose if interest on the first $1,000 of cash value is limited to the guaranteed rate.
An indication that the interest rate credited on cash value amounts which have been borrowed is different from that for cash values which have not been borrowed, if that is the case.
An indication of any other significant factors which affect the manner in which cash values are computed.
(25) Graded or modified benefits after a policy is issued. Ins 2.16(25)(a)(a)
An advertisement, representation, or solicitation for a policy containing graded or modified benefits shall prominently disclose this fact. If applicable, an advertisement, representation, or solicitation shall prominently disclose the fact that the premium is level and coverage decreases or increases with age or duration. Graded or modified benefits shall include, but are not limited to, life insurance policies that, within a specified period after the policy is issued, may pay no death benefits or death benefits that are less than premiums paid should the insurer pay the death benefits.
The prominent disclosure required in par. (a)
shall mean the following for the specified type of advertisement:
For television advertisements, an announcement describing the graded or modified benefits to be displayed during the advertisement for at least 10 seconds.
For radio advertisements, an announcement describing the graded or modified benefits.
For pre-printed advertisements intended for general distribution, a written description of the graded or modified benefits printed on the first page of the advertisement and in at least 12 point bold type.
In the event an advertisement uses “Nonmedical," “No Medical Examination Required," or similar terms where issue is not guaranteed, the terms shall be accompanied by a further disclosure in close proximity thereto and with equal prominence to the effect that issuance of the policy may depend upon the answers to the health questions set forth in the application.
No advertisement may contain as the name or title of a life insurance policy any phrase which does not include the words“life insurance" unless accompanied by other language clearly indicating it is life insurance.
An advertisement shall prominently describe the type of policy advertised.
No advertisement of an insurance policy marketed by direct response techniques may state or imply, unless the condition is true, that because there is no intermediary or commission involved there will be a cost saving to prospective purchasers.
No advertisement may state or imply in any way that interest charged on a policy loan or the reduction of death benefits by the amount of outstanding policy loans is unfair, inequitable, or in any manner an incorrect or improper practice.
If nonforfeiture values are shown in any advertisement, the advertisement shall show the values either for the entire amount of the basic life policy death benefit or for each $1,000 of initial death benefit.
No advertisement may contain the words “free," “no cost," “without cost," “no additional cost," “at no extra cost," or words of similar import with respect to any benefit or service being made available with a policy, unless the insured is not charged for any benefit or service. If the insured is not charged, then the advertisement shall prominently disclose the identity of the payor.
(27) Method of disclosure of required information. Ins 2.16(27)(a)(a)
A person subject to this section shall set out all information required to be disclosed by this section clearly, conspicuously and in close proximity to the statements to which the information relates or under appropriate captions of sufficient prominence that it shall be readily noticed and not minimized, rendered obscure or presented in an ambiguous fashion or intermingled with the context of the advertisements so as to be confusing or misleading.
No person subject to this section may set out information required by this section under inappropriate captions or headings or under inappropriate questions where a question and answer format is used.
(28) Form number.
A person subject to this section shall identify by form number an advertisement other than an institutional advertisement defined in sub. (3) (h)
which is mass-produced. The form number shall be sufficient to distinguish it from any other advertising form or any policy, application or other form used by the insurer.
(29) Insurer's responsibility for advertisements. Ins 2.16(29)(a)(a)
The insurer whose policy is advertised has responsibility for the content, form and method of dissemination of all advertisements, regardless of by whom designed, created, written, printed or used.
An insurer shall require its intermediaries and all other persons or agencies acting on its behalf in preparing advertisements to submit proposed advertisements to it for approval prior to use.
(30) Insurer's advertising file.
Each insurer shall maintain at its home or principal office a complete file containing every printed, published or prepared advertisement of its policies hereafter disseminated in the state. With respect to group, blanket and franchise policies, all proposals prepared on the same printed form need not be included in the file; only typical examples of these proposals shall be included. A notation shall be attached to each such advertisement in the file indicating the manner and extent of distribution and the form number of any policy, amendment, rider, or endorsement form advertised. The file shall be subject to regular and periodic inspection by the office of the commissioner of insurance. A person subject to this section shall maintain all of these advertisements in the file while in use and for a period of 3 years after an advertisement's authorized use. If applicable, a person subject to this section shall also maintain files in accordance with ss. Ins 2.14 (5) (a)
and 2.15 (9) (a)
Ins 2.16 History
Cr. Register, October, 1982, No. 322
, eff. 11-1-82; r. (5) (b) 1. and 2. and (6) (b), Register, May, 1984, No. 341
, eff. 6-1-84; r. (7) under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 16., Stats., Register, December, 1984, No. 348
; r. and recr. Register, July, 1989, No. 403
, eff. 8-1-89; am. (1) and (3) (a) 2., Register, March, 1998, No. 507
, eff. 4-1-98; CR 14-075
: am. (3) (a) 2. Register August 2015 No. 716
, eff. 9-1-15.
Life insurance illustrations. Ins 2.17(1)(1)
This section provides rules for life insurance policy illustrations that will protect consumers and foster consumer education. This section provides illustration formats, prescribes standards to be followed when illustrations are used, and specifies the disclosures that are required in connection with illustrations. The goals of this rule are to ensure that illustrations do not mislead purchasers of life insurance and to make illustrations more understandable. Insurers will, as far as possible, eliminate the use of footnotes and caveats and define terms used in the illustration in language that would be understood by a typical person within the segment of the public to which the illustration is directed. The requirements of this section are in addition to and not a substitute for the requirements set forth in ss. Ins 2.14
This section applies to all group and individual life insurance policies and certificates except: