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Learning Center Experience
By Nancy Lazar Lamers, JD, Division Manager and
Insurance Subject Matter Expert Kaplan University School of Professional and Continuing Education Published October 2014
In June 2000, Mohammed Atta received a wire transfer of $9,985
from the United Arab Emirates into his South Florida bank account, according to a
December 11, 2001, criminal indictment of suspected September 11, 2001,
conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui. The money Atta received is alleged to have been
used to finance the September 11 terrorist attacks. The dollar amount of $9,985
is important—it was just $15 and a penny short of the over $10,000 reporting
threshold requirement for banks, indicating the terrorists knew to send smaller
amounts to hide the transactions.1
Bush signed the USA PATRIOT Act into law on October 26, 2001, after the
September 11 terrorist attacks, money laundering suddenly became visible
because it had now become associated with terrorism. While banks and other
depository institutions have long been required to implement anti-money
laundering (AML) programs, the PATRIOT Act extended the AML program and
reporting requirements to most financial institutions, including certain insurance
What exactly is money
laundering? Money launderingis a process
that criminals use to convert dirty money—that is, money derived from illegal
drug, terrorist, or other criminal activities—into clean or legitimate money.
Money laundering is similar to washing clothes—you put in dirty clothes and
after being washed, the clothes are clean.
insurance companies to be active in preventing and identifying money laundering
and terrorist financing, federal laws and regulations require these companies
to report certain transactions.
Insurers must file
IRS Form 8300 when they receive more than $10,000 in cash in one transaction or
in two or more related transactions.2 Any
transactions conducted between a payor or the agent and the recipient during a
24-hour period are called related
transactions. Transactions are related even if they occur over more than
24 hours if the recipient knows or has reason to think that each transaction is
in a series of connected transactions.
Given the nature of money laundering and the clandestine
practices that attend to it, there are no hard and fast rules that define
exactly if or when a suspicious activity report is required or warranted. Every
insurer subject to AML requirements must conduct its own assessment to
evaluate the money laundering risks it faces on the basis of its products,
customer base, and customer activity. From this assessment will come a
suspicious activity monitoring and reporting program that is unique to the
company and its business.
Insurance companies engaged within the United States as a business in the
issuing or underwriting of covered products must file with the U.S. Treasury
Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) a report of any
suspicious transaction involving a covered product that is relevant to a
possible violation of law or regulation.3
company must report a suspicious
transaction if it involves, separately or in the aggregate, at least $5,000 in
funds or other assets and the insurance company knows, suspects, or has reason
to suspect that the transaction:
An insurance company may
report any suspicious transaction it believes is relevant to the possible
violation of any law or regulation, regardless of the amount of the
reports are made, the insurance company must not notify the individual involved
with the transaction that these activities were reported, nor can the
government or its agents make such a disclosure. Additionally, the requirement
absolves an insurance company from any liability it might otherwise face for
FinCEN states that “there is no way to
provide an exhaustive list of suspicious transactions.” However, insurance
companies should be aware of red flags, which may point to suspicious activity.
FinCEN has provided some examples of red flags:
a red flag does not automatically require the filing of a suspicious activity
report, it should be reported immediately to the AML compliance officer. Only
an insurer is obligated to file suspicious activity reports. The insurer’s
agents and brokers are not required.
Lazar Lamers, JD, is an insurance subject matter expert and Division Manager of
Content Development of Insurance Continuing and Professional Education at
Kaplan University’s School of Professional and Continuing Education. She has a
Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
and a Juris Doctor from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
The views expressed in this
article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan
By Cynthia Waddell, PhD, CPA, CFE
By Jerry Taylor
By Geoffrey Vanderpal
By Dr. Denise Schoenherr
By Stanley W. Self, CFE
By Rachel Byers, Full-Time Faculty, School of Business
Accounting firms are taking advantage of some emerging trends.
Change is the name of the game in wealth management!
Most people do not realize there are a variety of jobs in this field.
According to the BLS, employment of insurance sales agents is projected to grow.
Access definitions and FAQs related to accounting.
Access definitions and FAQs related to investments and wealth management.
Access definitions and FAQs related to real estate.
Access definitions and FAQs related to risk and insurance.
Kaplan Real Estate Education's Toby Schifsky looks at the factors to consider when pursuing a real estate career.
Toby Schifsky talks about the importance of goals and action steps for achieving them.
Access preparation and practice advise from Kaplan Financial Education experts Mary Orn and Julie Ramsey.
Maylee talks about her experiences with Kaplan Financial Education and preparing for her exams.
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