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Archive for January 2013

The long tomorrow

{January 31st, 2013} by Michael K. Stanley

Americans are bombarded with potential risks to their well being and, for the most part it sinks in. Smoking cigarettes has dropped to record-low levels, it is no longer considered trendy not to wear your seat belt and exercising and striving to eat healthily has become a voguish staple of modern society. There are however, […]

Moody's 2013 global outlook for insurers a negative

{January 31st, 2013} by Michael K. Stanley

Moody’s Investor Service (Moody’s) outlook for life insurers in 2013 is negative due to the continuous low interest rate environment and anemic economic growth. Interest rates — both in the U.S. and around the world — will remain historically low for near future. Life insurers have, for the most part, been able to insulate themselves from […]

Life insurance fares well under new tax laws

{January 31st, 2013} by Julius Giarmarco

Following are some of the ways that permanent life insurance will play an important role under the new tax laws. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 permanently increases the top income tax rate from 35 percent to 39.6 percent for unmarried taxpayers with income over $400,000 and married taxpayers with income over $450,000; permanently […]

A.M. Best Affirms Ratings of American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company and Its Subsidiaries

{January 31st, 2013} by N/A

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) and issuer credit ratings of “a-” of American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company (American Equity Life) and its subsidiaries, American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company of New York and Eagle Life Insurance Company .   Concurrently, A.M. Best has affirmed the ICR of […]

Allianz Life Launches New FIA: Allianz 222 Annuity

{January 31st, 2013} by N/A

Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life), a leading provider of fixed index annuities (FIAs), today announced the launch of the Allianz 222^SM Annuity, a new FIA available exclusively to field marketing organizations, broker/dealers, and agents associated with the Allianz Preferred^SM platform. Available today in 44 states, the newest FIA to the Allianz […]

Economists Growing More Upbeat About 2013

{January 31st, 2013} by N/A

NEW YORK — Economists are increasingly, but still cautiously, optimistic about growth in the year ahead with the hiring expected to pick up in coming months. A quarterly survey by the National Association for Business Economists released Monday shows half of the economists polled now expect real gross domestic product _ the value of all […]

When advisers become therapists

{January 31st, 2013} by Liz Skinner

Financial adviser Rick Kahler was perplexed by a young female client who seemed to have a passion for starting small businesses that went beyond what might be considered merely entrepreneurial.   In one of their early meetings at his Rapid City, S.D., office, he asked many questions about her youth and upbringing as he collected […]

Finra proposes a link to BrokerCheck on firm websites

{January 31st, 2013} by Mark Schoeff Jr.

Investors would be able to access information about a financial adviser’s business and disciplinary history directly from the firm’s web page under a new rule proposed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc.   In a regulatory notice filed in the Jan. 25 edition of the Federal Register, Finra said the rule would require its […]

Women underrepresented in leadership roles

{January 31st, 2013} by Amanda McGrory-Dixon

Although management and executive roles are the most difficult to fill, only one in five senior management positions are held by women, according to a survey by ManpowerGroup, a provider of work force solutions. To improve this situation, ManpowerGroup recommends that companies offer greater flexibility in an effort to empower women leaders. This is important […]

Annuity myths you must dispel: separating truth from fiction, Pt. 1

{January 30th, 2013} by Ryan Parker

Thanks to efforts put forth by the industry and its dedicated professionals, not to mention the stark retirement reality underpinned by a mistrust of the stock market, annuity products are garnering more investor attention almost every day. Yet despite industry-wide attempts to educate consumers on the appropriate use and benefits of annuity products in a […]

Life, annuity acquisitions by AIMs hit $138B

{January 30th, 2013} by Warren S. Hersh

Acquisitions of annuity blocks of business by alternative investment managers now total $138 billion in value, new research shows. Moody’s Investor’s Service, New York, published this finding today in a “Special Comment” that explores the growing number of “unwanted” annuity/life insurance businesses, credit implications of alternative investment manager firms entering the life/annuity space and AIMs’ […]

Private-equity jumping into annuities could be bad news for insurers

{January 30th, 2013} by Darla Mercado

Companies like Guggenheim Partners LLC, Athene Holding Ltd. and Harbinger Capital Partners have consumed a veritable buffet of annuity businesses, snapping up bits and pieces as life insurers back away from fixed and variable annuities.   The buyers are finding discounts as skittish carriers back away from costly hedging amid low interest rates and struggle […]

Most Advisors Use Social Networking To Boost Business

{January 30th, 2013} by Donald Jay Korn

Fifty-eight percent of financial advisors use social networking as part of their business, according to a survey by Phoenix Marketing International of Rhinebeck, N.Y.   Facebook, which is used by 85% of advisors that are using social media, is far and away the most widely-used application, followed by LinkedIn (56%), Twitter (44%), Google (34%) and […]

Top 10 trends in the retirement income industry

{January 29th, 2013} by Cathy Weatherford

With 2013 off and running, we at the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) have compiled a comprehensive outlook for the insured retirement industry covering all aspects of the business — from public policy to product changes to the financial health of the industry itself. IRI forecasts that many of the trends and dynamics that marked 2012 […]

Private Equity Increasingly Tapping Into the Potential of US Fixed, Indexed Annuity Market

{January 29th, 2013} by Fran Matso Lysiak

OLDWICK, N.J. – Private equity firms are increasingly tapping into what they view as a potentially lucrative financial opportunity in fixed annuities, including indexed, in the United States. In December, the U.K.-based Aviva plc agreed to sell its U.S. life and annuity business, Aviva USA Corp., to the Bermuda-based Athene Holding Ltd. for $1.8 billion […]

MIB Life Index up 1.4% in 2012

{January 29th, 2013} by Michael K. Stanley

U.S. application activity for individual underwritten life insurance was up 1.4 percent year-to-date (YTD) as compared with 2011 numbers, all ages combined. MIB Group Inc. published the findings in its MIB Life Index, a measure of life insurance application activity in the U.S. The index, which is released monthly, is based on the number of […]

Outlook 2013: Expect more tax-wise advanced markets sales

{January 29th, 2013} by Warren S. Hersch

Enactment of the American Taxpayer Relief Act, legislation signed by President Obama on January 2 to avert the fiscal cliff, drew fire aplenty for supposed shortcomings from commentators on both the left and right of the political spectrum. But for insurance and financial service professionals, the new law has one indisputable plus in its favor: […]

Find the prospecting fountain of youth

{January 29th, 2013} by Kim Magdalein

A young man wrote an article recently with advice that fits well here today: “Many people forget that the simple statement, ‘I’d love to learn from you,’ opens more doors than anything you can imagine. It’s the ultimate statement of humility, respect, understanding and curiosity.” So says Brian Wong, founder and CEO of Kiip, a […]

Retirement Hopes Dim For Baby Boomers

{January 29th, 2013} by Rodney Brooks, USA TODAY

Baby Boomers, forget about retirement. We’ll be working for the rest of our lives.   OK, that may be an exaggeration, but not by much.   We have not saved enough money. And worse, many of us will still be up to our eyeballs in debt when we do retire. We’re just one medical emergency […]

LIMRA: 47% Of Small Businesses Offer Benefits

{January 29th, 2013} by N/A

WINDSOR, Conn., Jan. 28, 2013 — Only 47 percent of small businesses (2-99 employees) in the United States offer benefits to their employees, the lowest level in two decades of LIMRA research. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 98 percent of businesses in the U.S. have fewer than 100 employees, accounting for approximately 35 percent […]

What would the best advisor do? Think and act like you're the finest in your field

{January 29th, 2013} by Sandy Schussel

How are you showing up? Before you do anything with a client or a prospect, ask yourself the question: What would the best advisor do in this situation?   Most of us know how to meet prospective clients, talk to them and have them retain us. But the “what we do” is not a problem. […]

Mary Jo White: The next SEC chief’s skeleton in the closet

{January 29th, 2013} by Larry Doyle

News breaks this morning that President Obama will nominate Mary Jo White to be the next head of the SEC.   Who is Ms. White? A highly decorated attorney at the prestigious law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton. I would expect she might win a very easy approval to be our nation’s next top financial […]

Wall Street executives fret about talent drain

{January 29th, 2013} by Lauren Tara LaCapra

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – As the titans of Wall Street banks gathered to network, gossip and consider the future of their beleaguered industry in Davos over the past week, one common worry emerged: who is going to take over when we leave? Some of the most ambitious minds in finance are leaving the industry after […]

LPL beefing up its compliance in wake of Massachusetts suit

{January 28th, 2013} by Bruce Kelly

In today’s tough regulatory climate for broker-dealers, with watchdogs routinely whacking firms with large fines, broker-dealer executives may be imagining a securities regulator or two under their beds when they nod off at night.   Recent decisions by LPL Financial LLC would hint that compliance pros at the biggest independent broker-dealers are seeing a gaggle […]

Tough-as-nails White faces hammering at SEC

{January 28th, 2013} by N/A

In nominating former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White to run the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, President Barack Obama said he was sending a signal that the regulator would be tough on Wall Street.   “You don’t want to mess with Mary Jo,” Obama said as he introduced her at the White House.   Political […]

Life insurers must adapt quickly to meet equity analysts’ expectations

{January 28th, 2013} by Daniele Presutti, Patrick M. Lyons

Life insurers are operating in a challenging and fast-changing environment, with their businesses under enormous pressure from a range of external forces. To gain insight into the factors driving the ratings of insurance companies, as well as the strategies that insurance CEOs should adopt to improve valuations of their companies, we at Accenture commissioned a […]

Nelson sticks to NAIC preservation of state system

{January 28th, 2013} by Liz Festa

Former Nebraska governor and senator Ben Nelson echoed the sentiments of the NAIC leadership in his first public press conference as new CEO of the organization by casting the desired  relationship with the federal government as one of a “partnership,” not one allowing incursion, pre-emption or even dual regulation. Nelson, a moderate, plains-state Democrat flanked […]

AIG sees low chance of Greenberg lawsuit success

{January 28th, 2013} by Arthur D. Postal

Starr International and Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, its controlling shareholder, have “no more than a 20 percent” chance of winning damages from the government in its lawsuit claiming that that the government acted punitively against its shareholders when it acted to bail out American International Group starting in September 2008, AIG’s lawyers have told its board. […]

Demand grows for business succession planning

{January 28th, 2013} by Michael S. Fischer

The vast majority of financial planning professionals expect retiring baby boomers to accelerate the demand for business succession planning, according to a new survey. The sixth annual Industry Trends Survey, released Monday by WealthCounsel and Trusts & Estates magazine, found 37 percent of respondents predicting a significant increase and 57 percent expecting at least some […]

What are your prospects really saying?

{January 28th, 2013} by Jill Konrath

Five minutes. You wouldn’t think it would be difficult to misconstrue those two simple words. However, after many years of marriage, I can assure you that it has two entirely different meanings for my husband and me. Click here to read…

LIMRA's 2013 Distribution Conference Features Executive Panel

{January 28th, 2013} by N/A

WINDSOR, Conn.,Jan. 24 — LIMRA issued the following news release: A panel of senior industry leaders will address more than 400 sales, marketing and distribution professionals at LIMRA’s 2013Distribution Conference onFeb. 20-22, 2013, inOrlando Fla. “The key driver of growth has always been strong distribution,” saidJames Kerley, president of LIMRA Services. “A recent LIMRA/McKinsey study […]

No More 'Empty Nest'

{January 28th, 2013} by N/A

CORVALLIS, Ore., Jan. 25 — Oregon State University issued the following news release:   The “empty nest” of past generations, in which the kids are grown up and middle-aged adults have more time to themselves, has been replaced in the United States by a nest that’s full – kids who can’t leave, can’t find a […]

Life insurance trusts and trustees — 5 reasons why it’s time for an annual review

{January 26th, 2013} by Ron Roth

It is very typical for our clients to have some or all of their life insurance held in a trust. The reasons are numerous (too many for this article) but suffice it to say that this ownership structure is utilized frequently and is part of sound estate planning. Each of these trusts must contain a trustee or […]

Mary Jo White to be new SEC chair

{January 26th, 2013} by LIZ FESTA

As the chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mary Jo White, who earned a reputation as a tough New York prosecutor, will likely not shy from creating a fiduciary standard that has her stamp on it, and from creating a climate where SEC enforcement will vigorously go after industry malfeasance, including suitability of […]

Find Tomorrow's 'Gems' and Bring Them Into Insurance, Webinar Panelists Advise

{January 26th, 2013} by N/A

OLDWICK, N.J. – The talented young stars of tomorrow’s insurance world are waiting to join the industry, but companies need to ramp up their efforts to identify, recruit and train them, and to find better ways to keep them in fulfilling careers. That was the consensus among the five panelists who participated at the Best’s […]

Brookstone Capital Management Changes Structure of its Ownership

{January 25th, 2013} by Lori Peterson

Wheaton, IL – Friday, January 18 2013 –Brookstone Capital Management (BCM), a SEC Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) announces that due to its rapid growth in recent years, it has decided to restructure its ownership to best position the firm for continued growth. Since 2009, BCM had been a wholly owned subsidiary of Producers Equity Group […]

What The New SEC Chair Means For Advisors

{January 25th, 2013} by Kenneth Corbin

Financial advisors could soon have a new regulatory authority in Washington, as President Obama Thursday nominated veteran prosecutor Mary Jo White to head the Securities and Exchange Commission. If confirmed by the Senate, White would replace interim Chairman Elisse Walter and assume responsibility for moving ahead with a number of initiatives that would reshape the regulatory […]

NAIC Names 2013 Committee Leadership

{January 25th, 2013} by N/A

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 — The National Association of Insurance Commissioners issued the following news release:   The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has named its 2013 committee chairs and vice chairs, and assigned members to the organization’s standing committees.   “This year’s committee leadership brings invaluable expertise and insight that will be critical to […]

Northwestern Mutual To Pay Over $5B In Dividends

{January 25th, 2013} by Paul Gores

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. said Thursday it had record sales last year and expects to make its biggest dividend payout ever in 2013. Including life, disability income and long-term care, policies purchased were up 13% over 2011, theMilwaukee-based insurer said. In all, new-premium sales topped$1 billion last year. The company said it plans to […]

SEC might be productive despite 2-2 split

{January 25th, 2013} by Mark Schoeff Jr.

Despite its 2-2 split, the agency may be able to finish some work during the chairmanship of Elisse Walter. Ms. Walter, who was elevated from her position as a commissioner when former Chairman Mary Schapiro departed in December, has started her tenure by demonstrating her skill in finding common ground among disparate views.   “I’m […]

25 mind-blowing social media stats for financial advisors

{January 24th, 2013} by Amy McIlwain

Let’s face it: Who doesn’t love a helping of solid statistical data every once in a while? In 2012, financial professionals made significant strides in embracing and harnessing social media — but how effective are their efforts? Better yet, are they reaching the right audiences on social media? The following compilation of data is reflective […]

Why there is no conflict of interest between financial planners and clients

{January 24th, 2013} by David Lewis

If an advisor values his business and his clients, then how do his personal interests clash with those of his clients? Answer: They don’t.   It’s not uncommon for industry organizations to claim that financial planners must balance “conflicts of interest” when working with clients. For example, the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards states, […]

New NAIC CEO Nelson: ‘No Need for Dual Regulation’

{January 24th, 2013} by Andrew G. Simpson

The new CEO of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) says there is a limited role for the federal government in insurance in partnership with state regulators but there is “no need for dual regulation.” Ben Nelson, former U.S. senator from Nebraska and a former two-term governor and insurance commissioner in his state, presented […]

Allianz on the green

{January 24th, 2013} by Michael K. Stanley

Allianz Life Insurance Company (Allianz) is teeing-up to donate money during their annual Allianz Championship, being held Feb. 4-10 at the Old Course at Broken Sound in Boca Raton, Fla. Allianz will donate $1,000 dollars for every birdie that is made by their sponsored golfer, Tom Lehman. The donations will be split between the Junior […]

Hybrid Advisors Outpace RIAs

{January 24th, 2013} by Donald Jay Korn

The RIA market continues to grow, but it wound up in second place last year. “The success of the dually registered channel was a highlight in 2012,”Cerulli Associates said in a recent report. While RIA assets under management rose by 14.7%, advisors able to receive both fees and commissions did even better, increasing their assets […]

Stop the bad press about annuities

{January 24th, 2013} by Charles K. Hirsch, CLU

  If you have clients who are feeling confident about their savings and retirement plans right now, chances are they are not really paying attention. Although there are certainly some signs that our economy is starting to get its legs back after the crisis of 2008, we still have a long way to go.   […]

Is Washington endorsing annuities?

{January 24th, 2013} by Stan Haithcock

Is Washington endorsing annuities?   In recent weeks, I have been inundated by annuity industry promotional pieces that reference the Government Accounting Office and their supposed endorsement of annuities.   If you haven’t heard this pitch, you will, so it’s important to know exactly what those GAO studies say, why they said it, and what […]

SEC To Hold National Compliance Event For Broker-Dealers

{January 24th, 2013} by N/A

WASHINGTON,Jan. 23 –The Securities & Exchange Commission issued the following news release: The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced the opening of registration for itsNational Compliance Outreach Program for Broker-Dealers that will take place inWashington D.C. onApril 9. The event is sponsored by theSEC’sOffice of Compliance Inspections and Examinations in coordination with theSEC’sDivision of Trading […]

Ex-Humana employee pleads guilty in bribery case

{January 24th, 2013} by BRETT BARROUQUERE

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A former sales manager forHumana pleaded guilty Wednesday to taking more than$2 million in bribes from aSouth Carolina company to steer insurance brokers their way. James Albert Wegner Jr., 48, of New Port Richie, Fla., admitted to a role in a scheme to cut out other insurance brokers and steerMedicare Advantage and […]

New NAIC CEO Wants To Preserve State-Based Regulation

{January 24th, 2013} by Tom Harman

Ben Nelson, the former U.S. senator andNebraska governor appointed as the new chief executive officer of theNational Association of Insurance Commissioners, said he looks to preserve the industry’s state-based regulatory system while crafting partnerships with international regulators and insisting the federal government’s influence over the industry should be limited. NAIC hired Nelson after it conducted […]

Annuity Data: Inflows Slide In 2012

{January 24th, 2013} by Rachel F. Elson

The amount of money flowing into annuities declined last year more than 6% from prior-year levels, according to a report from theDepository Trust & Clearing Corp. Inflows dropped to$84.7 billion from$90.3 billion in 2011, reflecting in part a spike in fourth-quarter outflows. Although the outflows reflect real investor activity, the jump may have been driven […]

Youngest Most Eager To Save For Retirement

{January 24th, 2013} by Margarida Correia

The people most interested in saving for retirement are those furthest away from actually retiring. That’s the most interesting highlight of a survey released Thursday byState Street Global Advisors. The survey polled more than 1,000 participants in workplace 401(k), 403(b), 457 and profit sharing defined contribution retirement plans. The group that emerged as the most […]

Life Premiums Expected To Rise In 2013 And 2014

{January 24th, 2013} by William T. Knight

LONDON, January 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ —   StockCall research team has posted free technical analyses on   companies mentioned in this release. These can be accessed at   http://www.stockcall.com/register   Companies in the life insurance industry could be in for a solid 2013,   as life insurance premiums are predicted to rise both this year […]

Choppy waters persist

{January 23rd, 2013} by Bruce Kelly

Small broker-dealers will continue to face strong head winds in 2013, and dozens will shut down, seek a merger partner or abandon the transaction-oriented style used by securities houses to become registered investment advisers that charge fees rather than commissions.   The difficulties such firms face include higher compliance costs, record low interest rates for […]

AIG Executes Plan To Repay U.S. Government

{January 23rd, 2013} by N/A

American International Group Inc. (AIG) announced that it has executed its previously announced recapitalization plan with theU.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury Department), the Federal Reserve Bank ofNew York (FRBNY), and theAIG Credit Facility Trust (the Trust). They will also repay in full the approximately$21 billion outstanding balance under the credit facility extended by the […]

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Opportune statistics!

{January 23rd, 2013} by Sheryl J. Moore

Just read through this month’s InsuranceNewsNet Magazine and came across a couple opportune statistics from a Harris Interactive survey about America’s search for financial peace of mind:   61% percent of American adults age 55+ view saving enough to have “financial peace of mind” as top financial priority. In addition 32% say that they plan to look into ways to […]

Former U.S. Attorney May Be Next SEC Chair

{January 23rd, 2013} by N/A

(Bloomberg) Mary Jo White, the former U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, is under consideration to become the next chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, three people with knowledge of the matter said.   White, now a partner at law firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in New York, would succeed Elisse Walter, who took over as […]

Society of Actuaries examines middle market

{January 23rd, 2013} by Michael K. Stanley

Life insurance ownership in general is at an all-time low and among the highly underserved and underinsured middle market it is even lower. The Society of Actuaries, in conjunction with WZ Research + Consulting and Mathew Greenwald & Associates explored the reasons for this issue by surveying a panel of young families in order to […]

8 estate planning lessons from "Downton Abbey"

{January 23rd, 2013} by Corey Dahl

The Masterpiece Theater hit “Downton Abbey” offers helpful lessons in a lot of things: turn-of-the-century fashion, 1920s table manners, dramatic face slapping. And while viewers might not realize it, in between all the backstabbing, messy relationships and ego-fueled showdowns, the miniseries is also an in-depth tutorial on the prudence of estate planning. Don’t believe it? […]

5 ways financial advisors under-serve their clients and what to do about it

{January 23rd, 2013} by Bill Bachrach

These ideas will improve your business in any economy, under any market conditions, no matter who’s the president, or whether it’s a tax or a penalty. Focus on what you can control and go get clients. The experts on achieving goals say the first very important step to achieving a goal is simply making the […]

FIAs: The cure for sluggish REITs

{January 23rd, 2013} by David Shields

With investors now seeking a more reliable investment vehicle with less risk and better returns, the time is ripe for you to discuss fixed index annuities with your clients.   Real estate investment trusts (REITs) were once considered a safe place to park your cash and watch it flourish. Indeed, real estate seemed like a […]

Who’s Worth What in the Independent Agency System? Find Out Now

{January 22nd, 2013} by Andrea Wells

  Insurance Journal is polling insurance agents and brokers nationwide in its annual search to find out who’s worth what in the independent agency system.   Don’t miss out on your chance to participate. The 2013 Agency Salary Survey results will be compiled for a special report in the Feb. 25 issue of Insurance Journal […]

NAFA Appoints Jeff Mose as VP of Development and Education

{January 22nd, 2013} by Kim O'Brien

Milwaukee, WI – January 22, 2013 — The National Association for Fixed Annuities (NAFA) announced Jeff Mose has been appointed as the association’s vice president for development and education. Mose earned his insurance license in 2002 and has been a fixed annuity professional since that time. He launched his own insurance agency in 2009 and […]

FIAs: The cure for sluggish REITs

{January 22nd, 2013} by David Shields

With investors now seeking a more reliable investment vehicle with less risk and better returns, the time is ripe for you to discuss fixed index annuities with your clients. Real estate investment trusts (REITs) were once considered a safe place to park your cash and watch it flourish. Indeed, real estate seemed like a logical, […]

Sen. Ben Nelson named new NAIC CEO

{January 22nd, 2013} by Liz Festa

Former Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson has been named CEO of the National Association of Insurance (NAIC), the organization announced today in a news release. The move was widely anticipated and welcomed by many in the industry. Nelson has reportedly already met with top lobbyists and Washington insurance officials like Federal Insurance Office Director Michael McRaith […]

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