In a previous article, we discussed OPTins and the role it plays in helping surplus lines licensees make premium tax payments to certain state regulators. But there’s another valuable tool that those working in the non-admitted market need to understand: SLIP, the Surplus Lines Information Portal.
Eleven states, including California and Florida, currently allow filers to submit information about surplus lines policies to regulators via SLIP. The portal also provides a suite of tools to help producers and brokerages manage policy information in-house.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure the best experience when using SLIP.
You Need to Have a SLIP Account
Generally, you’ll need to create a separate account in each state that uses SLIP. The exceptions are South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wyoming, which share Clearinghouse SLIP accounts. In most states, the brokerage must choose someone to act as the SLIP Administrator. This individual contacts the state to request a SLIP account.
In addition to the contact information you’d expect (firm name, physical and mailing addresses, phone number, website address, etc.), the administrator needs to provide a brief description of what business activities the brokerage plans to engage in in the state. Proof of surplus lines licensure for an individual and the business entity in both their resident state and the state where they are applying and proof of affiliation of the individual to the agency license may also be required. The state will then send an email with a username and password for the account.
In most states, a new account is approved within a day, but California has a more complicated application process and can take up to a week. Be sure to have your SLIP account created well before state filing deadlines. Regulators usually won’t accept, “I was waiting for my SLIP account to be approved,” as an excuse for a late filing!
Choose the Appropriate Level of Access for Each User
Once the brokerage’s SLIP account has been created, additional user accounts for each producer can be created under the main brokerage account. Users can have one of three different levels of access:
- Administrators can add, edit and view policy data, as well as add, edit, and delete user profiles.
- Edit and View access allows a user to add, edit and view policy data.
- Users with View Only access can see policy information previously submitted, but cannot change the information in any way.
Choosing the appropriate access level ensures that team members have the information they need to do their jobs, but minimizes the chances that they will accidentally change or delete critical compliance information. If a team member’s responsibilities change over time, the SLIP administrator can always adjust the level of access.
Each user has unique login credentials. It’s very important to ensure that people don’t “share” usernames and passwords. Also, if a broker leaves your firm, you need to delete their user profile immediately!
Take Advantage of SLIP’s Customizable Lists
SLIP offers a number of customizable lists to help you manage your essential information:
- The Broker List appears as a drop-down menu when adding a new policy. It displays the broker’s name and surplus lines license number. All individuals identified as brokers in their user profiles appear on this list.
- The Eligible Insurers List comes pre-populated with information about all the insurance carriers approved to transact surplus lines business in the state. This includes providing NAIC numbers for each company. Even better, your SLIP administrator can create a customized list of insurers your agency or brokerage uses. This customized list is then available to every user.
- Your SLIP Administrator can also create a customized Retail Producers List for your brokerage. The producer’s record includes essential information such as the name and address for the retail producer as well as the producer’s ID number.
SLIP for Compliance
Using SLIP for information management means that everyone on your team has the essential information that they need literally at their fingertips. And because everyone uses the same lists, there’s no chance of someone using outdated information – as long as the SLIP Administrator is keeping the lists up to date, of course! All of this helps ensure easier and more accurate surplus lines policy information filings.