FIN 2024-1


DATE:        April 2, 2024

FROM:    Karen Z. Schutter, Executive Director

RE:    Requesting Trade Secret Treatment of Information Submitted in a Product Filing to the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Commission (Insurance Compact)

Statutory References: Article VIII and Article X of the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Compact, as enacted into law by each of the Compacting States.

Operating Procedure References: Sections 102, 103, and 106 of the Establishment of Conditions and Procedures for Public Inspection and Copying of Information and Official Records of the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Commission (Public Access Rule) and Section 112 of the Operating Procedure for the Filing and Approval of Product Filings (Product Filing Rule). 

Purpose: Filing Information Notices explain steps or clarifications in the process for filing and review of product filings under the applicable Uniform Standards and Operating Procedures. 

BACKGROUND: The Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Commission (Insurance Compact) has established a rule for the conditions and procedures for public inspection and copying of its information and official records, commonly known as the Public Access Rule. Section 102(h) of the Public Access Rule defines “Trade Secret” as follows: 

any information, which may include, but is not limited to, a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique or process, insurance actuarial formulas, statistics, supporting data, assumptions, underwriting guidelines and credit scoring methodologies, that: a) derive independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by other persons who can obtain economic value from their disclosure or use, and b) are the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain their secrecy.

A "Product Filing” is filed to the Insurance Compact through the NAIC System for Electronic Rate and Form Filing (SERFF) and is described in the Product Filing Rule as a “Product, Rate or Advertisement, or combination thereof, submitted to the Commission for review in accordance with the Commission’s Rules and Operating Procedures.”

Pursuant to Section 103(b)(1) of the Public Access Rule, information provided by an Insurer, including but not limited to information contained in a Product Filing, that qualifies as a Trade Secret is not public and is exempt from inspection, examination and copying. 

Pursuant to Section 112 of the Product Filing Rule, when a Product Filing contains Trade Secret information, the Product Filer may identify those portions of the Product Filing, including correspondence with the Compact Office, that contain Trade Secret and seek to protect their disclosure. 

Only once a Product Filing is approved is it public, as Product Filings that are pending approval, disapproved, or withdrawn are not considered public in accordance with Section 103(b)(11) of the Public Access Rule

To clarify, the designation of Trade Secret applies to material in a Product Filing on and after the date the Product Filing is approved, as prior to the entry of an approval disposition, contents of a Product Filing are not public.

This Filing Information Notice provides guidance for requesting Trade Secret treatment for information submitted in a Product Filing to the Insurance Compact and how to upload documents with Trade Secret information to a Product Filing in SERFF.


1.    Requesting Trade Secret

a.    All requests for Trade Secret protection must be in writing and addressed to the Insurance Compact Executive Director, Karen Z. Schutter, as the designated Custodian of Records pursuant to the Public Access Rule

b.    A Trade Secret request should be addressed to the Executive Director and e-mailed to as soon as reasonably possible after the Product Filing with the Trade Secret information is submitted. 

i.    Do not submit the Trade Secret request through SERFF. The request that is e-mailed will be logged and added as a Note to Filer in the Product Filing by the Compact Office when the Product Filing nears approval.
ii.    The materials referenced as Trade Secret must be in the Product Filing in an unredacted format before the Trade Secret request is addressed.

c.    The Trade Secret request should comply with the following:

i.    The request must be on insurer letterhead and specify the SERFF Tracking Number of the Product Filing that contains the Trade Secret information.
ii.    The request must sufficiently describe the information that the insurer is seeking to protect as Trade Secret (e.g., lapse assumption rates, credibility and loss ratios of morbidity experience studies, loss ratio projections exhibit). 
iii.    The request must explain how this information satisfies the two-part definition of Trade Secret in Section 102(h) of the Public Access Rule.

d.    An entire Product Filing is not eligible to be marked Trade Secret, because an approved filing is public in accordance with Section 103 of the Public Access Rule.

e.    An approved form, rate schedule or rate manual is generally considered not to meet the second prong of the Trade Secret definition, “the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain their secrecy,” as these items are generally available to policyholders and others in the sales process, and thus would not be considered Trade Secret information absent extraordinary justification.

f.    Once the Product Filing is approved, the Compact Office will make the public version of the document, with the Trade Secret information removed or redacted, publicly available through SERFF Filing Access (SFA). The Trade Secret request will also be publicly available in the approved Product Filing in a Note to Filer. 

g.    A confidential version of the material requested as Trade Secret should never be attached to the Trade Secret request nor should the request disclose the confidential Trade Secret information, as the Trade Secret request will be acknowledged in the approved Product Filing and publicly available. 

2.    SERFF Documentation

a.    When preparing a Product Filing for submission that contains documents with Trade Secret information:

i.    Any document containing Trade Secret information should be clearly labeled as such in both the SERFF Document Name field and in the attachment file name. “Confidential” or “Proprietary” are common examples of these labels. 
ii.    A document containing Trade Secret information should also be labeled as such within the document, such as with a header, footer, or watermark.
iii.    Upon initial submission, the filer shall not include a redacted version of the information considered Trade Secret. This avoids extra work for the filer because it is common for the confidential version to be revised during the review process.

b.    After the Trade Secret request has been received, and as the Product Filing moves closer to approval, the Compact Office will send correspondence to the filer to attach a redacted version of each document with Trade Secret information, which document will be marked as public access in the Product Filing upon approval. 

i.    Do not submit a redacted version of a document prior to receiving correspondence from the Compact Office in SERFF. 
ii.    A redacted version should have the specific Trade Secret information removed. 

A.    Highlighting in a dark color or marking through Trade Secret information does not always prevent recovery of information. 
B.    It should be clear in the document what information was removed; section headers, table names, etc., should remain in the documents. Only information that qualifies as Trade Secret should be removed.

iii.    Confidential and public versions of a document should be attached to separate lines within SERFF. Public access of an approved Product Filing is set in SERFF by line, not by attachment.
iv.    Trade secret information may sometimes be included in correspondence between the Compact Office and the filer, such as in filer responses. 

A.    It is strongly recommended that Trade Secret information not be explicitly included in correspondence in SERFF when that correspondence also includes responses to non-Trade Secret information. Since it is not possible to mark public access for only part of a correspondence item, it requires duplication of the non-Trade Secret information in new correspondence and updating of the Trade Secret request to identify the correspondence sought to be redacted. 
B.    The best practice for handling a response that contains Trade Secret information is to create and attach a separate supporting document on the Supporting Documentation Schedule containing only the response(s) containing Trade Secret information. The approach of attaching separate documentation to the Supporting Documentation Schedule to respond to Compact Office correspondence is disfavored outside of the Trade Secret context.

v.    Upon approval, the Product Filing will be available through SFA. The Compact Office does not verify if the redacted information can be discovered when it is viewed or downloaded in SFA. The insurer should immediately verify through SFA that the Trade Secret information was properly redacted and not accessible.


The purpose of this Filing Information Notice is to outline the process for submitting a Trade Secret request for information in a Product Filing that meets the definition in the Public Access Rule. The request is made outside SERFF pursuant to the procedures above. If the request demonstrates the information meets the Trade Secret definition, the request will be added by the Compact Office as a Note to Filer before the Product Filing is approved. This Filing Information Notice also explains the procedures for when and how to upload the public version of Trade Secret material in the Product Filing in redacted form in SERFF.