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Archive for October 2013

New York Life Exec: Life Settlement Industry Should Strive for Standardization and Consumer Protections

{October 31st, 2013} by Angelo Lewis, Senior Associate Editor, Best's Review

NEW ORLEANS – States should work harder to institute consumer protections, standardization and methodologies when it comes to the life-settlement market, according to Scott Berlin, senior vice president at New York Life. He spoke with Best’s News Service at the American Council of Life Insurers Annual Conference in New Orleans. Q: If you could just [...]

Indexed Annuities Grow New ‘Must Have’ Features

{October 31st, 2013} by Linda Koco

Guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit riders have been the dominant star of indexed annuity features, but they will soon share billing with several other product features, according to insurance and annuity executives. That is one takeaway from a survey conducted earlier this month by The Phoenix Companies during a National Association for Fixed Annuities (NAFA) meeting [...]


Beware of ‘Office Zombies’

{October 31st, 2013} by Kevin Daum

Oh, the horror! Office Zombies abound–and they are out to destroy your workplace. Here are the various types and the ways to inoculate yourself. As we begin the annual week of All Hallows, it’s important to recognize that there are office zombies all around you. You yourself are in grave danger of becoming a monster [...]

American Equity approves preliminary agreement in class action suit

{October 30th, 2013} by Maria Wood

A preliminary agreement has been reached in a class action lawsuit against American Equity Investment Life Insurance Co. involving the sale of deferred annuities to seniors. According to a statement from the Evans Law Firm, one of the law firms that represented the plaintiffs, the preliminary agreement was handed down last month in the U.S. [...]


A.M. Best Affirms Ratings of Symetra Financial Corporation and Its Subsidiaries

{October 29th, 2013} by BUSINESS WIRE

OLDWICK, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating of A (Excellent) and issuer credit ratings (ICR) of “a+” of Symetra Life Insurance Company and its subsidiary, First Symetra National Life Insurance Company of New York (New York, NY). Concurrently, A.M. Best has affirmed the ICR of “bbb+” and existing debt ratings of [...]


73 will be the average retirement age for Millennials

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

Student debt will play the largest role out of all the factors leading to an average retirement age of 73 for Millennials with college degrees. Although Americans of all generations of Americans are preparing to work longer due to inadequate savings coupled with an expanding life expectancy, it is student debt that is the biggest [...]

Amy McIlwain

New Facebook promotion possibilities for financial advisors

{October 29th, 2013} by Amy Mcllwain

Use these promotions to get people to interact with your brand and start talking about the big ideas of your business. This type of active participation can be very difficult to create with a standard Facebook timeline post. We’re always looking for new ways to help you market your financial business on social media sites. [...]


What’s the most successful social network for financial advisors?

{October 28th, 2013} by Vanessa De La Rosa

It’s an awkward pairing: advisors’ hesitance to push through compliance worries and jump onto the social media bandwagon, and the incessant message that advisors must adapt to social media or risk dying off like dinosaurs. Whether you’re using social media every day, a little bit, or not all, it’s undoubtedly an ongoing source of curiosity [...]

Symetra Reports Third Quarter 2013 Results

{October 24th, 2013} by Symetra Financial Corporation

  Third Quarter Summary       BELLEVUE, Wash., Oct 23, 2013 (BUSINESS WIRE) — – Adjusted operating income(1) was $48.9 million, or $0.42 per diluted share, up from $45.9 million, or $0.33 per diluted share, in third quarter 2012. – Net income was $45.3 million, or $0.38 per diluted share, down from net income [...]

SNL: Insurers dump $3.9 billion in Treasury notes in 2013

{October 24th, 2013} by Warren S. Hersch

Led by Fidelity & Guaranty Life, U.S. insurers dispensed with nearly $4 billion in U.S. Treasuries in the first half of 2013, new research from SNL Financial reveals. Based on SNL’s review of bond transactions reported by U.S. based insurers that filed quarterly statements with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the report shows that [...]

12 Insurers See Ratings Updates

{October 23rd, 2013} by Jennifer Morrell

A.M. Best, Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s (S&P’s) released ratings updates. The following are some of the most recent: Aegon N.V. Fitch has affirmed Aegon N.V.’s (Aegon) Long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘A’ and senior unsecured debt at ‘A-’. Fitch has also affirmed Aegon’s primary North American life insurance subsidiaries’ [...]

A.M. Best Assigns Issuer Credit and Debt Ratings to Sammons Financial Group, Inc.

{October 23rd, 2013} by Best's News Service

OLDWICK, N.J. – A.M. Best Co. has assigned an issuer credit rating of “a-” and a debt rating of “a-” to the $200 million 7.0% 30-year senior unsecured notes issued by Sammons Financial Group, Inc. (SFG, Inc.) (Delaware), an intermediate holding company indirectly owned by Sammons Enterprises, Inc. (SEI). The outlook assigned to both ratings [...]

Jobs Report: US Insurance Industry Adds 2,800 Jobs in September

{October 23rd, 2013} by Jeff Jeffrey

WASHINGTON – The U.S. insurance industry added 2,800 jobs in September, continuing the upward trend in employment the industry has seen in 2013, according to the latest jobs report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Oct. 22. The seasonally adjusted 0.12% increase added to the uptick in the overall jobs market. The [...]

Genworth’s life division CEO to leave by year’s end

{October 23rd, 2013} by Maria Wood

Patrick B. Kelleher will leave his position as executive vice president and CEO of Genworth Financial, Inc.’s U.S. life insurance division at the end of the year, the company announced today. No reason was given in the statement for Kelleher’s departure. A spokesperson for Genworth declined to comment further on the matter. Click here to [...]

Life insurance: Who needs it?

{October 23rd, 2013} by Emily Holbrook

It’s amazing to see the statistics out there that point to the lack of awareness among society about the crucial benefits afforded by life insurance. I’ll admit I was one of those who thought little (or not at all) about the product. But that was before I began working with the industry and realizing that [...]

Most workers prefer one-on-one financial advice

{October 23rd, 2013} by Paula Aven Gladych

More than half of working Americans say they’d rather receive one-on-one financial advice from a financial advisor. That according to a TIAA-CREF study that showed that just 36 percent of all workers say they regularly rely on financial advice offered by their employers. TIAA-CREF’s second annual Financial Advice Survey was conducted by KRC Research and [...]


Why Advisors Ignore ‘Simplified Annuities’

{October 23rd, 2013} by Linda Koco

NEW YORK CITY – “The term ‘simplified annuities’ normally means ‘watered down guarantees,’” according to a securities executive during a wide-ranging and unscripted panel discussion here at LIMRA’s annual meeting. For that reason, many advisors aren’t interested. Ultimately, everyone likes to go to simplicity, but “there isn’t a lot of demand for that,” said Robert [...]

LIMRA Establishes Secure Retirement Institute

{October 23rd, 2013} by InsuranceNewsNet

NEW YORK, Oct. 22, 2013— LIMRA and LOMA President and CEO Robert A. Kerzner, CLU, ChFC, announced the establishment of the LIMRA LOMA Secure Retirement InstituteTM  during his remarks at the 2013 LIMRA Annual Conference this week. “Retirement is top of mind for most Americans but our research shows that many consumers have not saved or [...]


Swiss Re: “70 is the new 65″

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

Well over half of American workers surveyed (57 percent) anticipate that they will work beyond the traditional retirement age of 65 or never retire at all. The finding was uncovered in a recent Swiss Re survey timed to coincide with the beginning of National Save for Retirement Week. The survey cements the growing realization by [...]

The report finds that more than 7 in 10 (71 percent) of “proactive self-actualizers” are confident they will have enough money in retirement.

AARP: Self-actualizers more confident about finances, retirement

{October 23rd, 2013} by Warren

Proactive self-actualizers are most confident about their retirement finances and doubters are least confident, according to new research. AARP discloses this finding in an October 2013 report, “Retirement Attitudes Segmentation Survey.” The second of a two-part study to examine pre-retirees’ views of retirement, the steps they’re taking to prepare for retirement and the opportunities to [...]

Countering elder financial abuse

{October 23rd, 2013} by Walter White

Nearly all of us have heard a version of this story. A stranger contacts an elderly friend or loved one by phone or a knock on the door and asks them to make a significant financial decision, offering fraudulent assurances that the senior will either make more money or receive some other benefit by taking [...]


Social media insights (based on real data!) for the financial professional, Pt. 2

{October 23rd, 2013} by Jennifer DeTroye

Editor’s note: This three-part series from The American College details which prospects are on social media and exactly why advisors can no longer ignore the elephant in the room. You can read part one here. Stay tuned for part three in the next week, which will include a complimentary link to the full report. Let’s [...]

Use Annuities As A Tax Shield: CPA

{October 23rd, 2013} by Linda Koco

Time was, before the era of the feature festival in annuities, agents and advisors used to present annuity options based on the client’s tax needs. According to Jeffrey Levine, certified public accountant, this may be the time to return to that strategy. Anytime there is an increase in taxes, “we’ve got to look at re-evaluating [...]


Women advisers: ‘Take that step forward’

{October 23rd, 2013} by Liz Skinner

Women have no less ambition, rights activist said at symposium aimed at helping female advisers build successful businesses Women’s rights activist Gloria Feldt called on the female financial advisers of Raymond James Financial Services Inc. to reach out to other women and have the courage to raise the issues that make it difficult for women [...]

Insurers “only playing at the digital game”

{October 23rd, 2013} by PR Newswire Association LLC

LONDON, Oct. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – Insurance companies have high digital ambitions but have failed to take action and embrace the digital world, according to EY’s ‘Insurance in a digital world: The time is now’ survey, launched today. The survey was conducted inJuly 2013, with participants from more than 100 insurance companies. Graham Handy, EY’s Global Insurance [...]

iPipeline Acquires Aplifi

{October 23rd, 2013} by IBR Staff Writer

iPipeline®, the leader in on-demand marketing, selling and processing solutions for the nation’s top insurance carriers, distributors and producers, today announced the acquisition of Aplifi®, who has maintained a strong reputation for providing life and annuity solutions to the financial services industry.* The acquisition of the Florida-based company has created the insurance industry’s most comprehensive [...]

The secrets to a successful succession strategy

{October 22nd, 2013} by David Canter

Approximately 67% of firms either don’t have succession plans for their businesses or have plans that are not ready to be implemented. Is your business ready? Advisers are constantly working with clients to help in every aspect of financial health and success. They guide them in securing their future and, in some cases, assist them [...]

Massachusetts Allows Insurance Producers to Charge Fees When Selling Policies

{October 22nd, 2013} by Thomas Harman, associate editor, BestWeek

BOSTON – Resident and nonresident insurance producers in Massachusetts can charge separate, additional fees to customers when selling them policies, according to a new bulletin by the state Department of Insurance. The October bulletin was issued as a guidance for insurance producers. “Resident and nonresident insurance producers, including special insurance brokers, engaged in the solicitation, [...]

Conning: Life insurers are revising investments

{October 22nd, 2013} by Warren S. Hersch

The U.S. life insurance industry is shifting its investment allocations as liquidity pressure has eased, according to a new study by Conning. “In 2012 life insurers shifted allocations to reduce holdings in common and preferred stock and increased cash, short term bonds and Schedule BA assets,” says Mary Pat Campbell, analyst at Conning. “We view [...]


Insurers’ share prices trading below historical averages

{October 22nd, 2013} by Warren S. Hersch

Share prices of major life insurers are trading below their historical averages, new research shows. A report from Sterne Agee reveals that shares for nine of 13 life insurers are trading below their historical averages, the discount ranging from 62 percent to 99 percent. Just four companies Prudential Financial, Ameriprise Financial, Torchmark and Unum — are enjoying [...]


Psychologically Ready To Retire?

{October 22nd, 2013} by Rodney Brooks, USA Today

  Author and former financial planner Frank Maselli tells a story of a man who retired and went home to spend his days with his wife. It didn’t take long for him to become a major intrusion in his wife’s world. He told her the way she did everything was wrong, even the garden she [...]


ING sizes planned offering of common stock

{October 21st, 2013} by Maria Wood

In a statement filed today with the SEC, ING U.S. revealed the size of a planned public offering of common stock currently held by ING Group. According to the company, ING Group seeks to sell 30 million shares, which would reduce its stake in ING U.S. from 71 percent to roughly 60 percent. ING U.S. [...]

Fi360's Duane Thompson: Finra is “moving inexorably in the direction of emphasizing a fiduciarylike standard.” Vincent Ricardel

Finra urges brokers to adopt a ‘best interests’ standard

{October 21st, 2013} by Mark Schoeff Jr.

Finra moving inexorably in the direction of emphasizing a fiduciary like standard A new report by Finra designed to help brokers avoid conflicts of interest encourages them to adopt a code of conduct that sounds similar to the fiduciary standard followed by investment advisers. Last Monday, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. issued a report [...]

Prudential to Accept Non-Bank SIFI Designation

{October 21st, 2013} by Jeff Jeffrey

WASHINGTON – Prudential Financial Inc. will not challenge the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s designation of the company as a non-bank systemically important financial institution. Prudential, headed by Chief Executive Officer John Strangfeld, had until Oct. 19 to alert the FSOC if the company decided to continue fighting the non-bank SIFI designation. In June, Prudential was [...]


5 Cardinal Rules Of Retirement Planning

{October 21st, 2013} by Glenn A. Herring

Whether you are currently retired or planning for retirement, there are five cardinal rules investors must follow to provide a stress-free retirement.There is an investment product that will achieve all five of these rules, automatically. Although it has been around for almost two decades, many haven’t heard of it. It is called the Fixed Indexed [...]


What clients want

{October 21st, 2013} by Jamie E. Green

Given the pronounced need for leads and the challenge prospecting poses to advisors, it is important to look at the methods advisors are using to prospect for new clients (Figure 7). Referrals — both client and professional — and cross-selling to existing clients figure heavily at the top of the list of methods. Advisors generally [...]


Husband And Wife Sentenced For Defrauding Great-Aunt

{October 21st, 2013} by Joseph Kohut

By Joseph Kohut, The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa. McClatchy-Tribune Information Services Oct. 18–A husband and wife convicted of defrauding a Blakely woman and her estate were sentenced to federal prison Thursday. Victor J. Santarelli III, 47, of Clearwater, Fla., was sentenced to 57 months in prison by Senior U.S. District Judge Edwin M. Kosik and was [...]


Prudential Drops Its Fight Against Systemic Risk Designation

{October 21st, 2013} by Zachary Tracer

Prudential Financial Inc., the second-largest U.S. life insurer, abandoned its challenge to a U.S. designation from a Treasury Department panel that subjects the company to increased regulatory oversight. The insurer opted against filing a lawsuit seeking to overturn its status as a systemically important financial institution, or SIFI, Newark, New Jersey-based Prudential said yesterday in [...]

Proposed NAIC 2014 Budget Has $93 Million in Revenues; Funds Staff to Aid ORSA, Principles-Based Reserving Efforts

{October 21st, 2013} by Thomas Harman, associate editor, BestWeek

WASHINGTON – The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has proposed a 2014 budget showing slightly increased revenues and expenses, compared with 2013, as well as new funding for staff resources to aid the implementation of the principles-based reserving method for life insurers and the Own Risk and Solvency Assessment model act. The NAIC is projecting [...]

national underwriter


{October 21st, 2013} by Elizabeth Festa and Arthur D. Postal

SIFI, NARAB, PBRs and captives — all represent major turning points for an industry in a state of regulatory reform. Read More