Expert Tips to Avoid Accident & Health State Filings Form Rejections

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State filings form rejections waste your company’s time and money. When you are forced to resubmit your forms, your company is on the hook to resubmit state filing fees (where applicable) and SERFF fees. These fees might be nominal in some cases, but if you are required to resubmit multiple forms in multiple states, they can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. Depending on the state, when you resubmit, you also run the risk of re-starting the approval clock from zero. This can result in delays of weeks or months, and lost revenue due to delayed insurance product releases.
During our decades providing state filings services, we’ve seen almost every reason a form is likely to be rejected. We also know that many of these setbacks are avoidable. Here are some of the most common mistakes that lead to rejection–and what you can do to prevent them.

Tip #1: Pick the appropriate type of insurance (TOI)

When you file through SERFF, you must specify the correct code for the exact type of policy you are submitting. In most cases, a sub-TOI is also required. These codes are crucial because they let the department know what to expect when reviewing your forms. The reviewer evaluates your form through the lens of your selected TOI, looking for particular information. A wrong TOI code subjects your form to review under the wrong classification and may result in unnecessary objections. It can also make your submission look sloppy. Submitting a filing under an incorrect TOI is one of the fastest ways to get your form rejected outright.
NAIC publishes updated codes every January. Each state’s DOI has the authority to control the number and types of insurance codes that they accept each year. Depending on the types of policies issued in their states, commissioners can “turn on and turn off” codes at their discretion. Insurance consulting companies that offer state filing services regularly review these changes, looking for new codes that apply to emerging products and codes that are no longer in use.
But what if your policy doesn’t exactly fit a particular TOI? No matter whether your product is an exact fit or not, you must pick a TOI code. For policies that don’t exactly match a particular state’s TOI code in SERFF, select the code that most closely aligns with your policy, then address individual points of variation in the filing description. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees that a reviewer will read your description, but it’s your best course of action. If you’re unsure about which TOI to select, work with an experienced insurance consulting company that specializes in state filing services. They’ll help you evaluate the code that most closely applies to your form.

Tip #2: For group policies, correctly identify your market

Selecting the correct group designation (“employer,” “union,” “association,” etc.) is hugely important. Your form is subject to rejection if the designation is incorrect or does not match what is allowed in a particular state. As with correct identification of TOI, the self-designation sets the lens through which the reviewer will check your forms. If you are missing required accompanying forms (i.e., association by-laws) for a particular type of group designation, your filing is likely to be rejected.

Tip #3: Pay close attention to the requirements of each state and line of business

Checklists, transmittals and certification requirements vary by state and by line of business. Health-specific plans that are subject to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) require additional considerations, including form and rate requirements and other ancillary forms. It’s easy to get lost in the weeds. You must have a clear understanding of the questionnaires and filing certifications required by each state. These requirements are usually­–but not always–listed on SERFF. Pay attention to these details. Missing or incomplete information will stop your filing in its tracks.

Tip #4: Include required information–and nothing more

Pay close attention to the specific information that should accompany each filing. Include what is required by SERFF but do not include additional information. Doing so can open your filing up to questions and confusion.
The sheer volume of work required to track filing requirements that change frequently and vary by state can present challenges for internal departments at most insurance companies. We recommend working with an insurance services partner who provides detailed content reviews as part of their state filings services. Their breadth of experience and deep understanding of all specific statewide filings can save you time, money and runaround.
When it comes to avoiding state filings form rejection, the most important thing is to take your time. Hasty work leads to oversights and careless mistakes that can set your filing back to square one.
Have questions about your state filings process? Contact us today to speak to our state filings experts.