Text messaging gives independent agents a quick and simple way to communicate with clients, on an individual or aggregate basis, regarding policy reminders, new product offerings and risk management tips. But the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has broadly interpreted the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to regulate nearly all commercial text messaging, even if a text is sent to one person rather than multiple recipients.
To help agents meet the requirements of the TCPA, the Agents Council for Technology (ACT), in conjunction with the Big “I” Office of the General Counsel, released a sample text messaging opt-in form and sample terms and conditions.
“Consumers want to choose how they communicate with their independent agent, and for many, texting is at the top of the list,” says Ron Berg, ACT executive director. “We are giving agents the guidance and tools necessary to ensure they comply with the legal requirements for text messaging.”
Unlike the rules for some other commercial communications, the FCC has ordered that an existing business relationship does not provide an exemption to the TCPA requirements of obtaining prior express written consent before sending commercial text messages.
Therefore, agents should ask clients to opt-in to text messaging and provide messaging terms and conditions, even if the agency communicates via text only with existing or prospective clients or when the client or prospect initiates the texts. Agents also need to understand the capabilities of their agency management system for text messaging.
Download the Texting Sample Opt-In Form and Guidelines.