November 17, 2022 | Paul Yanosy, General Counsel, Hi Marley

Four Commonly Asked Questions Regarding Hi Marley and TCPA Compliance

Hi Marley empowers insurance carriers to communicate with policyholders and other parties in the insurance ecosystem. Because the Hi Marley Insurance Cloud operates using text messaging, insurance carriers want to understand compliance obligations under applicable laws, including the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Here are four of the most frequent questions related to the TCPA that we come across with insurance carriers

1. What is the TCPA?

The TCPA is a federal law that aims to protect consumer privacy and root out “spam” marketing messages sent via voice, text and fax. Insurance carriers who text will want to understand their use case and discuss with counsel to devise a consent strategy that reflects their company’s risk tolerance.

To reduce spam, the TCPA—and the various regulations and rulings following—require distinct levels of consent depending on the message’s content. For business texting, types of content are roughly divided into two categories: (1) sales and marketing messages and (2) informational/ordinary course of business messages. While both categories require the sender to collect express consent from the individual receiving the message prior to sending the first text, there are differences.

  • For sales and marketing content, the sender must obtain express written consent from the individual prior to receiving the text message. This can be obtained through a website, email, or in other ways.
  • For informational/ordinary course of business content, the sender must obtain express consent from the individual receiving the message to communicate for ordinary business purposes, through written, verbal, or relying on the provision of the phone number (implied) consent.

2. How does this impact Hi Marley’s insurance carrier customers?

Hi Marley is not a platform for sales and marketing. If an insurance carrier customer agrees to communicate via the Hi Marley platform, they can have confidence that the message channel will not be used to upsell on a new home policy, for example. To operate consistent with the TCPA and to build trust—especially in a moment of crisis—the Hi Marley platform is presently only for informational/ordinary course of business use.

3. Why does Hi Marley require the end user to agree to communicate consistent with its terms of use and privacy policy?

There are three reasons here. First, as a platform operating in text, Hi Marley is also responsible for complying with the TCPA. Therefore, we need to demonstrate express consent from the end user to provide the service.

Second, it is best practice in SaaS (Software as a Service) to disclose what Hi Marley does —and does not do—with that end user’s information. For instance, we promise not to sell that person’s data to a third-party marketing campaign. It’s also standard to gather the end user’s agreement to operate as “good citizens” on the platform. The end user agrees, for example, they will not reverse engineer Hi Marley technology or use the platform for offensive purposes.

Third, this process helps limit the risk exposure for insurance carriers. With a double opt-in requirement, a customer cannot continue a conversation on Hi Marley without affirming their agreement to communicate via the platform consistent with the terms. This consent becomes part of the Hi Marley transcript and gives carriers written confirmation that their customers wish to communicate via text. So, if a customer replies affirmatively, the area of risk is the first text message alone and not the entire conversation.

Other texting solutions require the insurance carrier to take full responsibility for obtaining consent. Hi Marley designed a solution as part of the product

4. How does Hi Marley ensure ongoing compliance?

We work closely with service providers like Twilio, Bandwidth, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and others to stay on top of the ever-evolving telecommunications industry requirements. This allows us to adjust our policies in real-time for requirements on shortcodes, disclosures in the text and more. We also honor requirements around SMS best practices such as STOP and HELP.

The Hi Marley platform is built for insurance by insurance industry experts. We understand the importance of risk mitigation. TCPA compliance is one of many ways we work to protect our customers and their customers.

 

This article is informational only and is not legal advice. We encourage parties to discuss these topics with their own legal counsel.

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