The original concept for SERFF was developed in the early 1990s by the NAIC. The intent was to provide a cost-effective method for facilitating the submission, review and approval of product filings between regulators and insurance companies. In June 1996, the SERFF Consortium, an unincorporated group of interested states and companies, was formed in response to the demand for an automated system. From October, 1997 through December, 1997 a pilot test was conducted. During this test, six states and ten companies tested the application in a production environment. In December 1997, the consortium and the NAIC agreed that the NAIC would take over the operation of SERFF, leveraging the input from a SERFF Board composed of regulator and industry representatives. From early 1998 through late 2000, the SERFF system underwent several significant changes, including enhancements on its original platform and a subsequent move to the Internet.
In January, 2000, the NAIC released a "Statement of Intent" that outlined efficiency initiatives to be introduced to be considered in the insurance regulatory environment. Part of this document addressed the "Speed-to-Market" issues that concern rate and form filings. Key accomplishments in the area of Speed to Market include the development and implementation of Uniform Product Coding Matrices (PCM), Uniform Transmittals, Electronic Funds Transfer, and Standardized Filing Types. The Product Coding Matrices is a uniform product naming convention established to standardize lines of business. The Uniform Transmittals have replaced all state specific transmittal letter requirements. In addition, all states that require fee remittance in advance of the review and approval of submitted filings now accept electronic payment via SERFF, thus further reducing the turnaround time for filings. Furthermore, the states have adopted standardized filing types within SERFF, thus allowing industry users to more efficiently submit filings in multiple states simultaneously. These improvements in the product filing, review and approval, have significantly reduced filing turnaround.
The cooperation between regulators and industry representatives has been very successful, because the approach enables both the states and the industry to collaborate in an effort to streamline the product filing process. The NAIC membership and industry representatives actively discuss how changes can be made in the regulatory arena to improve the process. SERFF continues to be a single key component in the automation of this regulatory compliance process.
In 2010, when the federal Affordable Care Act was passed, the NAIC membership and the health industry further collaborated to ensure that SERFF would continue to be the primary filing mechanism for health product filings, including new rate review and Qualified Health Plan submissions. Significant changes were made to SERFF to facilitate an efficient filing and review process necessary for a health insurance marketplace implementation. The system was effectively used for rate review purposes beginning in 2011 and supported Qualified Health Plan submissions for the initial plan year implementation in 2013.
Also in 2013 the NAIC membership reconstituted the SERFF Board to expand its membership to consumer and Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Commission (IIPRC) membership and renamed the Board to the SERFF Advisory Board. The new 11 member Advisory Board continues to provide the collaborative environment that facilitates continued growth in the functionality and value in SERFF for insurance regulators and insurers.
As of today, 49 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and over 3,900 insurance companies, third-party filers, rating organizations and other companies are committed to SERFF. Reflecting on the past 14 years, SERFF has experienced tremendous growth.
The NAIC members encourage insurers to become active users of SERFF, which offers a technological solution to enable more accurate rate and form filing submissions and a faster approval process.