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Archive for September 2013

Obama’s budget calls for big changes to 401(k)s, IRAs

{September 30th, 2013} by Paula Aven Gladych

Set aside for a moment the fight in Washington, D.C., over stopgap spending legislation. In his budget blueprint for 2014, President Obama has proposed a number of tax and other reforms that would mean big changes in how retirement is financed. What Congress does over the next couple of days could either avoid or trigger a […]

Face it: Americans resent how well industry is paid

{September 30th, 2013} by Bruce Kelly

Financial services biz out of touch with anger over crisis Talking about big-time bonuses for bankers, traders and investment adviser reps has turned into a bedeviling matter for those in the financial services industry. Recent conversations about who gets paid what in the business have revealed two things: how out of touch the financial services […]

NAIFA President Pivots From Last Year’s Fight

{September 30th, 2013} by Linda Koco

SAN ANTONIO – “’Advisor 2020’could be a game changer,” said Robert O. Smith in opening remarks here at the annual meeting of National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. The NAIFA president was referring to a new project that the NAIFA is co-sponsoring with the GAMA Foundation. The project will help agencies recruit new advisors […]

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18% of the workforce could retire within five years

{September 30th, 2013} by Michael K. Stanley

Eighteen percent of the workforce could retire within the next five years. The finding, in a recent report by the ADP Retirement Research Institute, a research arm of the global provider of human capital management solutions, is an appropriate reminder of the heft of the Baby Boomer generation and the impact their ageing will have […]

Behind the Scenes of Fixed Annuity Regulation

{September 30th, 2013} by Kim O'Brien

THE SAGA CONTINUES… THE INDUSTRY’S LEADING ADVOCATE, KIM O’BRIEN, PEELS BACK THE CURTAIN ON FEDERAL AND STATE REGULATION Edited by Robert Billingham These days, you don’t need to go to the movies to find drama. The most action-packed scenes are happening every day in our industry, and we are holding our breath in anticipation of […]

Class Calls ING Annuities a Fraud

{September 30th, 2013} by Matt Reynolds

SAN DIEGO (CN) – ING Life Insurance defrauds senior citizens by selling them indexed annuity contracts without telling them they are “embedded” with high-risk, complex derivatives, an 83-year-old man claims in a federal class action. Ernest Abbit sued ING USA Annuity and Life Insurance Co., alleging financial elder abuse, fraudulent inducement and other charges. Abbit […]

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Advisors split on how best to track retirement readiness

{September 30th, 2013} by Paula Aven Gladych

Most financial advisors place a great deal of importance on retirement income planning, but these same advisors don’t agree on how best to track whether a client’s investments are achieving the desired result: sustainable retirement income. That’s according to Russell Investments’ Financial Professional Outlook, a quarterly survey of U.S. financial advisors that found 34 percent […]

Global Atlantic to Buy Insurer for Post-Goldman Growth (Correct)

{September 30th, 2013} by Zachary Tracer

Global Atlantic Financial Group, the insurer divested by Goldman Sachs (GS:US) Group Inc. this year, agreed to buy closely held Forethought Financial Group Inc. to expand sales of life and retirement products. The purchase will increase assets at Global Atlantic to more than $31 billion, the Bermuda-based insurer said today in a statement that didn’t […]

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Global Atlantic Financial Group Agrees to Acquire Forethought Financial Group

{September 27th, 2013} by BUSINESS WIRE

HAMILTON, Bermuda–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Global Atlantic Financial Group (Global Atlantic), a multiline insurance and reinsurance company, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Houston-based Forethought Financial Group, Inc. (Forethought), a financial services company with life insurance and annuity operations throughout the US. Forethought will continue to operate its life insurance and annuity […]

Minnesota Life Insurance Releases Insurance Upgrades [Professional Services Close - Up]

{September 27th, 2013} by Proquest LLC

Minnesota Life Insurance Company announced a new benefit for its indexed universal life products that keeps it at the forefront of the market. Minnesota Life, a subsidiary of Securian Financial Group, introduced its latest improved offering for new and existing policies. The Index Crediting Bonus, when applied, provides a one percent annual bonus based on […]

Wink CEO: Second-Quarter US Sales of Indexed Annuities Rise on Sales of Two Private Equity-Owned Companies

{September 27th, 2013} by Fran Lysiak

PLEASANT HILL, Iowa – Second-quarter 2013 sales of indexed annuities in the United States rose in large part on sales by two private equity-owned companies, according to the chief executive officer of Wink Inc. Total second-quarter sales rose to $9.2 billion, up 5.5% from the same period a year ago, and increased 17% from the […]

AIG CEO Robert Benmosche (AP /Richard Drew)

AIG CEO comes under fire after remark

{September 27th, 2013} by Arthur D. Postal

American International Group (AIG) president and CEO Robert Benmosche is under heavy fire from a senior Maryland Democratic congressman because he compared the intense criticism of bonus payments made in 2009 to AIG Financial Products (AIGFP) executives to the lynching of blacks during the civil rights battles of several decades ago. Benmosche issued a summary […]

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Survey points to skepticism among the mass affluent

{September 27th, 2013} by Warren S. Hersch

Main Street investors remain pessimistic about their finances five years after the financial crisis, according to the “2013 Mass Affluent Investor,” a new study released this week by Spectrem Group. The mass affluent don’t feel wealthy enough to require financial advising services, though they have a net worth of $100,000 to $1 million (not including primary […]

Don’t ‘lean in’ to stereotypes, just be yourself

{September 27th, 2013} by Rajini Kodialam

Has the financial advisory industry disenfranchised women because they are expected to emulate male stereotypes? Earlier this week, I attended a “Lean In” event led by Sheryl Sandberg, focused on “Women, Work, and the Will to Lead”. Let me be honest, I don’t agree with everything in Sheryl’s book. I have worked with several incredible […]

20 women in insurance you need to know

{September 27th, 2013} by Corey Dahl, Vanessa De La Rosa, Emily Holbrook, Nichole Morford, Maria Wood

From the executive ranks of leading carriers to the local agencies that meet consumers’ needs each day, the insurance industry is increasingly being led by women. And for good reason. Women are uniquely equipped to meet the changing needs of consumers who want relational and holistic solutions — and, despite working in an industry that’s […]

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Allstate Hiring 305 Agents In Pennsylvania

{September 26th, 2013} by Scott Kraus, The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.) McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Sept. 26–Allstate Insurance plans to hire 305 agents in Pennsylvania over the next year in an expansion it says is fueled by the growing economy. The company, based in Malvern, Chester County, is looking for both midcareer agency owners and managers and less-experienced applicants looking to break into the insurance business. The company will be […]

3 famously flubbed attempts to market to women

{September 26th, 2013} by Corey Dahl

It’s easy to launch a product for women, right? Make it pink, add some sparkles, work the words “shopping” and “girlfriend” into your marketing copy… The ladies will come running. Or not. Click here to read…

Fed to join IAIS to help guide global insurance supervision

{September 26th, 2013} by Elizabeth Festa

The Federal Reserve Board — sparked by the interest of Gov. Dan Tarullo in ongoing talks of global insurance supervisory standards — is seeking to become one of the many U.S. members of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), according to sources. The Fed is also said to be negotiating with the National Association of […]

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Second wave of VA buyout offers comes from Axa

{September 26th, 2013} by Darla Mercado

Advisers and clients are getting Axa Equitable Life Insurance Co.’s second wave of variable annuity buyout offers — and the verdict is mixed. Back in July, the insurer filed an offer with the Securities and Exchange Commission, giving a certain group of clients who own its Accumulator variable annuity the option to terminate their guaranteed-minimum-income […]

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We must embrace Dave Ramsey as an expert

{September 26th, 2013} by Rodney Ballance

Did you know that Dave Ramsey is actually the third highest rated talk radio host in America? He has a listening audience of over two million people. His message is well received in the Christian community, and churches pay him millions of dollars every year to share his financial ignorance with the masses. No matter […]

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IRI Research to Explore Retirement Needs of Same-Sex Couples

{September 26th, 2013} by Catherine Weatherford

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) announced yesterday a new research initiative that will explore the retirement needs of same-sex couples. IRI’s focus on this market was heightened by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor. The Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act […]

New Designation for Financial Advisors Seeks to Reassure Skeptical Consumers

{September 26th, 2013} by The American College

BRYN MAWR, PA – September 26, 2013 – The American College of Financial Services announced this week that it is launching the Financial Services Certified Professional™ (FSCP™) designation – a rigorous program designed to help advisors understand client needs in a comprehensive manner rather than directly “selling product” without due diligence. The FSCP™ is the […]

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Advisors Bullish About Remainder Of 2013

{September 26th, 2013} by Cyril Tuohy

A new poll by the SEI Advisor Network finds that three out of four financial advisors say business profits will increase this year over last year. The poll also finds a majority (58 percent) of advisors predict the S&P Index will close above 1,650 by the end of the year. The S&P 500 closed at […]

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Advisors, banks can report elder financial abuse

{September 26th, 2013} by Maria Wood

Financial institutions can report suspected financial abuse of the elderly under certain circumstances without violating the individual’s privacy. That was main takeaway from guidance issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and seven other federal agencies yesterday. For advisors and employees of financial institutions like banks who believe an elderly person may be the victim […]

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In DOMA’s wake, more good news for same-sex couples

{September 26th, 2013} by Warren S. Hersch

The U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision to strike down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act was a major milestone for same-sex couples seeking marriage equality. That decision has led to additional developments favoring gay and lesbian couples, all of which are good news for financial advisors. The latest salvo comes from the Internal […]

Quick Takes On The Annuity Scene

{September 25th, 2013} by Linda Koco

The past few weeks have percolated with news on living benefits, annuity flows, deferred income annuities and more. Here are some short takes on that. We’ll do some up-close looks later on. Living benefit riders do impact client behavior: Before starting lifetime income from fixed indexed annuities, policyowners who have a guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit […]

Advisors’ Biggest Annuity Worries

{September 25th, 2013} by Samantha Allen

Despite a tarnished reputation, annuities make sense for some clients. Even so, advisors on a panel at the Insured Retirement Institute’s annual Vision conference in Chicago on Tuesday highlighted some of the biggest challenges they face in using annuities for clients. One of the major hurdles is the increasing complexity of annuity products. Not only […]

A Look Behind The New ‘Structured Annuities’

{September 25th, 2013} by Linda Koco

Structured variable annuities — also known as indexed variable annuities, registered indexed annuities or just structured annuities — have begun showing up on annuity dance cards, but industry practitioners aren’t quite sure what they are. Or why they are. One reason for the mystery is there aren’t many on the market just yet, and they […]

Nationwide’s John Carter Named IRI Board Chairman

{September 25th, 2013} by InsuranceNewsNet

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) today announced the election of John Carter, President and Chief Operating Officer of Nationwide Retirement Plans, as the new Chairman of the IRI Board of Directors. As Chairman, Mr. Carter follows Larry Roth, Immediate Past Chairman of the IRI Board. IRI also announced the election of eight […]

20% Of Americans Expect Never To Retire

{September 24th, 2013} by ProQuest Information and Learning Company

Working until you drop is no longer confined to the pages of Victorian novels according to the sobering findings of a new report published recently by HSBC. According to a release, the study discovered that nearly one in five (18 percent) working-age Americans expect they will never be able to afford to completely retire, believing […]

How to speed up the underwriting process — and place more cases

{September 24th, 2013} by Gregory E. Schwabe

Advisors today are faced with the immense challenge of assessing a client’s risk class in an underwriting environment that seems to change every week. Just staying on top of which companies are better at underwriting prostate cancer, diabetes, overweight applicants or those with heart disease is an impossible task. As an advisor, the best you […]

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When retirement products miss the mark

{September 24th, 2013} by Darla Mercado

In the world of insurance and asset management, sometimes it doesn’t pay to be the company with the most revolutionary product. Life insurance and fund family executives recounted their brushes with product failures at the Insured Retirement Institute’s annual conference in Chicago on Monday afternoon during a panel entitled “Product Innovation: A Look Ahead.” Back […]

LIMRA: Gen X Concerned About Having Enough Money To Retire

{September 24th, 2013} by InsuranceNewsNet

WINDSOR, Conn., Sept. 23, 2013 — Generation X Americans tended to be more concerned that they would not have enough money for retirement than younger and older consumers, according to a new retirement study by LIMRA. Only a quarter of Generation Y consumers (aged 18 to 32) and 3 in 10 Baby Boomers (age 49- […]

Tangled up in Pru

{September 23rd, 2013} by Elizabeth Festa

Domestic insurers and reinsurers other than Prudential Insurance could face consolidated regulation by the Federal Reserve Board, judging from the Sept. 19 majority opinion of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) on the SIFI-designated insurer, although members would be quick to point out under the Dodd-Frank Act (DFA) that each case is judged upon its […]

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11 Money Lessons From ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘Modern Family’ And Other Emmy Favorites

{September 23rd, 2013} by Maggie McGrath

Host Neil Patrick Harris may have said it best in his introduction to the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards: “I love television, because it’s more than entertainment; it’s education!” Surprising, but true: there are money lessons to be had from best drama series winner Breaking Bad, best comedy series Modern Family and other small screen […]

Advisors: CYA with paper

{September 23rd, 2013} by Bruce Sankin

The interpretation of your client’s answers on a client account form can make the difference between winning and losing a financial dispute or arbitration with a client.  Knowing this information could help you avoid any negative comments in your file or on your U-4. Who would have thought that a piece of regulatory paperwork could […]

Keys To Snapping Up Top Agents

{September 23rd, 2013} by Cyril Tuohy

Insurance agencies stand a much better chance of snagging that future Million Dollar Round Table inductee if they offer sales training, career advancement potential, retirement savings plans, employer-provided sales leads and employer-provided health insurance benefits — in that order — according to a new survey. The survey by Combined Insurance, a provider of individual supplemental […]

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Record IA Sales Top Previous Record By 5%

{September 20th, 2013} by Annuity News

Pleasant Hill, Iowa. September 16, 2013– Forty-two indexed annuity carriers participated in the 64th edition of Wink’s Sales & Market Report, representing 99.8% of indexed annuity production. Total second quarter sales were $9.2 billion. In reviewing second quarter indexed annuity sales, production was up more than 17.0% when compared to the previous quarter, and up […]

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Desperately Seeking GLWBs On Fixed Annuities

{September 20th, 2013} by Sheryl J. Moore

Since 2004, these benefits have practically become a requirement on the variable annuity (VA) sale. In fact, 84% of all VAs have opted for an optional GLWB1. Why? It is hard to guarantee a specified lifetime income amount on a product that has cash values which can rise and fall, based on the market’s performance. […]

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Indexed annuity, life sales rise in Q2

{September 20th, 2013} by Maria Wood

Overcoming a first-quarter slump, indexed annuity and indexed life sales bolted upward in the second quarter. According to the most recent Wink’s Sales & Market Report from Wink, Inc., total sales of indexed annuities hit $9.2 billion in Q2. That tally represents a 17 percent jump in production when compared to the previous quarter and […]

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Prudential loses appeal, is designated a SIFI by FSOC

{September 20th, 2013} by Elizabeth Festa

Unsurprisingly, minds failed to be changed, and Prudential Insurance lost is appeal before the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) this week, despite strong opposition from the independent insurance expert on the insurer’s ability to cause systemic risk to or within the economy if it failed. The council presumably voted again 7-2, meeting the two-thirds of […]

Seventy-five percent of Hispanics still believe the cost of life insurance is too expensive.

Life insurance ownership lower among Latinos

{September 20th, 2013} by Warren S. Hersch

Given the rapid expansion of the Latino population in the U.S. — the growth rate among Hispanics is projected to be triple that of any other ethnic group over the next 20 years — one might expect them to be a rich source of prospects for life insurance professionals. Cracking the Latino market may, however, […]

‘Safe Money Radio’ Host Charged In $2M Fraud

{September 20th, 2013} by Paul Walsh, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Sept. 19–A one-time host of “Safe Money Radio” in western Minnesota has allegedly contradicted the show’s title by swindling nearly$2 million out of investors who said they had invested proceeds from the sale of their farms or life savings. Jeffrey C. Rodd, 49, of Redwood Falls, was charged this week in federal court with four […]

Survey Shows Most Seniors Allow Life Insurance To Lapse

{September 20th, 2013} by Proquest LLC

In a survey conducted by ICR for life settlement provider The Lifeline Program, 55 percent of seniors have allowed their life insurance policies to lapse, viewing it as a liability instead of an asset. According to a release, further, more than 80 percent of adults aged 66 and over were not aware that they can […]

Insurers Challenged With Finding Risk Management Talent

{September 20th, 2013} by Carrie Burns

Executives responding to a recent Accenture survey report shortages of talent in a number of areas, including risk business and data analytics, risk technologists and regulatory change program management. Organizations are facing increased risks as many have grown their risk management team over the last two years, but they still need to address specific technology-related […]

Recruiting Gen Y Advisors Top Priority For Industry

{September 20th, 2013} by Source Media, Inc.

Get younger or go home. That’s the crux of the recruiting dilemma facing the financial advisory business, according to a new Pershing study. Financial services firms have to start recruiting the half-million college students who may be interested in becoming advisors, or risk having demand for financial advice outstrip supply within 10 years, according to […]

A Broader Approach To Reach Generation X

{September 20th, 2013} by Cyril Tuohy

For advisors, the bad news about selling life insurance to Generation X is that this generation, already underinsured, is falling even further behind in terms of coverage. The good news is that Gen X is keenly aware of it. The most important insight for advisors, however, may well be that there’s an opportunity for financial […]

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Peer to Peer

{September 20th, 2013} by Michael K. Stanley

Millenials state their case on who should sell to them. For a generation that, for the most part, has trouble committing to what the are going to have for dinner on any given night. Click here to read…

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Insurers liable for agent

{September 20th, 2013} by Arthur D. Postal

The Washington State Supreme Court has reaffirmed that insurance companies are totally responsible for the acts of their agents. Click here to read..

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Advisor bilks parents of $1.3 million

{September 20th, 2013} by Harry Lew

A not-so-dutiful son has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $1.3 million from his parents. Over many years, the advisor pretended to be managing his parents’ investments. However, in reality he was siphoning money from their accounts and using their money for his own purposes. Click here to read…

Chief executive Richard Ketchum says Finra is committed to transparency. Bloomberg News

Finra backs incentive comp disclosure rule

{September 20th, 2013} by Mark Schoeff Jr.

The board of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. has approved a proposal that would require brokers to disclose the amount of incentive pay they received to switch firms. Recruiting compensation of $100,000 or more — including signing, upfront or back-end bonuses, loans, accelerated payouts and transition assistance — would have to be disclosed to […]

U.S. risk council says Prudential needs close oversight

{September 20th, 2013} by Emily Stephenson

WASHINGTON, Sept 19 (Reuters) – Insurer Prudential Financial Inc said on Thursday that U.S. regulators had voted to designate the company as systemically risky, bringing it under stricter regulatory oversight. A group of regulators known as the Financial Stability Oversight Council had been weighing whether Prudential was so big that its failure could threaten U.S. […]

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Why advisors need to talk their loved ones about life insurance

{September 20th, 2013} by Dennis Postema

BLOG: When I was 20 years old, I suddenly lost my older brother in a car accident. This event was extremely tragic to my entire family. The days to follow included picking out a casket, cemetery plots, programs and songs for the funeral. It was extremely trying for everyone in my family to have to […]

Advisers honored for giving back to their communities

{September 20th, 2013} by Liz Skinner

The extraordinary commitment of 15 financial advisers to their local and global communities shined Thursday night at the seventh annual Community Leadership Awards in New York, an event designed to highlight the charitable work of the advice industry. Five advisers were singled out for awards by the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation and InvestmentNews. A […]

Labor Dept. Again Delays Proposal On Fiduciary Rule

{September 19th, 2013} by Cyril Tuohy

New rules surrounding fiduciary standards will have to wait, and wait, and wait some more as financial advisors last week learned that the U.S. Department of Labor has pushed back yet again its proposals to amend the definition of a fiduciary. But is anyone all that surprised? House Republicans and Senate Democrats over the summer […]

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The ‘key’ to selling to women

{September 19th, 2013} by Maribeth Kuzmeski

Are women really a “niche” market? If women are a niche, then I guess men are, too, right? But you rarely hear that a financial advisory firm is targeting men.  Click here to read…

Yellen Is Now Front-Runner For Fed Chief, But Options Remain

{September 19th, 2013} by Jim Puzzanghera and Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

With Lawrence Summers removing himself from consideration to be the next Federal Reserve chairman, Janet  Yellen becomes the acknowledged front-runner for the economic policy position. But President Barack Obama still could go in another direction, and speculation swirled Monday about other potential candidates, including former Fed Vice Chairman Donald Kohn and former Treasury Secretary Timothy […]

More than 8 in 10 boomers who are semi or fully retired (84 percent) feel prepared for retirement.

Most boomers confident in retirement preparedness

{September 18th, 2013} by Warren S. Hersch

More than 7 in 10 baby boomers believe they’re financially prepared for retirement, new research shows. That’s the word from TD Ameritrade Inc., which unveiled this finding in a new report, “2012 Baby Boomers: What Separates those who are financially prepared for retirement from those who are not?” Conducted last October by Head Research, the […]

Moms Rule: Principal Financial Group Named to 2013 Working Mother 100 Best Companies for the 12(th) Time

{September 18th, 2013} by BUSINESS WIRE

DES MOINES, Iowa–(BUSINESS WIRE)–September 17, 2013– Working Mother magazine today named the Principal Financial Group(R) as one of the “2013 Working Mother 100 Best Companies” for its commitment to progressive workplace programs, including child care, flexibility, advancement and paid family leave. The 100 Best Companies are featured in the October/November issue of Working Mother and […]

Annuity Sales Data: A Blessing And A Curse

{September 18th, 2013} by Linda Koco

It’s a blessing and a curse at the same time. The “It” is the host of annuity sales statistics that come out each quarter. On the blessing side of things, annuity specialists are fortunate to be able to see the statistical highlights from an assortment of researchers on annuity sales. That gives a multi-dimensional look […]

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NY DFS reopens probe into AIG

{September 18th, 2013} by Arthur D. Postal

New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) has reopened a probe into the risk management practices that led to American International Group’s (AIG) emergency takeover by the Federal Reserve Board in 2008. In the DFS probe, disclosed in a June letter written by DFS superintendent Benjamin Lawsky, DFS examiners allege that AIG may have failed to […]

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Annuities: focusing on the big picture

{September 18th, 2013} by Shawn Moran

Imagine going shopping for a new car. The car you own is worn out and tired, and you are tired of it. It long ago lost that new car smell. You are excited about the possibilities of what you might drive next, and so, armed with lots of information that you have read online about […]

Allianz Launches Indexed Variable Annuity

{September 18th, 2013} by Cyril Tuohy

Allianz Life has launched a new indexed variable annuity (IVA) branded as Allianz Index Advantage for investors willing to trade gains in market growth for a level of protection when markets fall. IVAs differ from their fixed indexed annuity cousins by increasing the amount of potential return through much higher caps on the interest credit […]

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FIA holders like those ‘free’ withdrawals

{September 18th, 2013} by Maria Wood

An increasing number of fixed indexed annuities (FIAs) are now sold with guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefits (GLWBs). Though common historically on variable annuities, GLWBs on FIAs are something of a new phenomenon ‑ as is policyholder behavior in regards to the utilization of those riders. With that in mind, Ruark Consulting, LLC recently undertook its […]

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ACLI calls Lawsky’s letter on reserves ‘irresponsible’

{September 18th, 2013} by Elizabeth Festa

In a letter to state insurance commissioners, the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) called the top New York insurance regulator’s remarks on life insurance reserving “irresponsible” and inaccurate, the former because they erode trust in the state regulatory system and the industry and the latter for actuarial reasons. The letter was written by ACLI […]

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