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Archive for February 2014

Allianz Posts 14.1% Jump in 2013 Net Income

{February 28th, 2014} by Marie Suszynski, Best's News Service correspondent

MUNICH – One of the world’s largest insurers, Allianz SE, reported a 14.1% increase in net income during 2013 as the company said it benefited from efforts to turn around its business in the United States. Net income for Allianz Group rose in 2013 to 6.3 billion euros (US$8.61 billion) from 5.56 billion euros the [...]

Allianz Life Reports Strong Financial Results for 2013

{February 28th, 2014} by Business Wire

Growth in operating profit driven by asset base, improved margins, and expense management   Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America   MINNEAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–   Minneapolis-based Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life) today reported operating profit of $646 million for its 2013 financial year, an increase of 10% from $586 million in [...]

Allianz fourth-quarter profit misses estimates

{February 28th, 2014} by Oliver Suess

(Bloomberg) — Allianz SE, Europe’s biggest insurer, posted fourth-quarter earnings that missed analysts’ estimates and said operating profit may decline this year. The shares fell the most in seven months. Net income grew to 1.26 billion euros ($1.72 billion) in the quarter from 1.24 billion euros in the year-earlier period, the Munich-based company said in [...]

Athene seeks to fill 225 full-time positions

{February 28th, 2014} by Victor Epstein

 Grant Kvalheim / Athene/Special to the Register   Written by Victor Epstein <!–individual: 9 numChar :2068 –> Athene USA is looking for a whole lot more than just a few good people. The insurer, which is holding a job fair Monday, hopes to fill 225 full-time slots created by the ongoing consolidation of its operations [...]

Selling annuities: the missing ingredient

{February 27th, 2014} by Lew Nazon

The vast majority of agents and advisors who are trying to sell annuity products to seniors are really struggling to make sales. Whether they are buying leads, using a lead generation program or running seminars, for every 10 annuity leads they may get, they are setting appointments with only one or two of those leads. [...]

Annuities: To surrender or not?

{February 27th, 2014} by William H. Byrnes, Robert Bloink

Whether they realize it or not, clients considering the surrender of an annuity product have many factors to weigh before determining whether walking away is the wisest course of action, and the scenario is becoming more common each day. Clients who are locked into variable annuity products may find themselves evaluating buyout offers from insurance [...]

Iowa Insurance Agent Accused Of Faking Policies

{February 27th, 2014} by The Associated Press

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — A 46-year-old insurance agent in northeastIowa has been accused of creating fake life insurance policies so she could make more in commissions. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier says (http://bit.ly/MqY0xF )Melissa Williams, ofDike, is charged with one count of mail fraud. She’s scheduled to be arraigned inU.S. District Court inCedar Rapids next [...]

Aflac Beefs Up, Axa Launches Life Products

{February 27th, 2014} by Cyril Tuohy

Aflac announced it has raised face amounts for its whole and term life policies, and has included a guaranteed-issue option for term life with a face amount of up to $25,000. The company’s individual whole life and term life insurance plans are offered for up to $500,000 for people under age 50, and for up [...]

FINRA Suitability Fines Drop 74 Percent In 2013

{February 27th, 2014} by Linda Koco

The size of fines for suitability violations levied in 2013 by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) decreased substantially over the previous year, according to a major Washington law firm. So did the number of suitability cases. The total fines in suitability cases dropped by 74 percent from $19.4 million in 2012 to $5.1 million [...]

A Dip But Not A Crash In Life Applications In 2013

{February 27th, 2014} by Linda Koco

Life insurance companies didn’t exactly find themselves straining to keep up with a huge influx of applications for individual coverage in 2013. In fact, application activity for individually underwritten life insurance in the U.S. fell by 3.4 percent compared with 2012, according to the MIB Life Index 2013 Annual Report. Declines occurred in all age [...]

Kansas City Life Reports Lower Quarterly And Annual Profits

{February 26th, 2014} by The Kansas City Star

By The Kansas City Star McClatchy-Tribune Information Services Feb. 26–Kansas City Life Insurance Co. on Wednesday reported a$1.5 million decline in fourth-quarter earnings and a smaller profit for the year. The company said it earned$6.4 million in the final three months of 2013. Kansas City Life attributed the smaller profit to increased policyholder benefits, lower [...]

LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute: Total Annuity Sales Grow 17 Percent in Fourth Quarter

{February 26th, 2014} by LIMRA

Annuities Experience Largest Quarterly Percentage Increase in 11 Years WINDSOR, Conn., Feb. 24, 2014 — Total annuity sales hit $61.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013 representing an increase of 17 percent — the largest quarterly percentage increase in 11 years, according to LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute (SRI). For full year 2013, annuity sales [...]

Slower Foot Traffic Hasn’t Hobbled Banks’ Ability To Attract Advisors

{February 26th, 2014} by Margarida Correia

Banks are still the best place for advisors to build a book of business even as traffic plummets at bank branches, according to analysts and recruiters. “You still have thousands of existing customers that all you have to do is call,” saysRick Rummage, president of theRummage Group, a career consulting firm. Wirehouse advisors, in contrast, [...]

Annuity Sales In 2013: Sunny With A Bit Of Haze

{February 26th, 2014} by Linda Koco

Let it not be said that a relatively unknown annuity product cannot make major headway in sales. The object of the lesson here is the deferred income annuity (DIA). In terms of year-over-year sales growth, this product line jumped 113 percent in 2013, according to the year-end annuity sales estimate report just released by LIMRA [...]

Iowa Lawmakers Poised to Pass Principles-Based Reserving Bill

{February 26th, 2014} by Thomas Harman, associate editor, BestWeek: Tom.Harman@ambest.com

DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa lawmakers are poised to ratify principles-based reserving for life insurers, as the Senate passed legislation doing so, and a counsel for the Federation of Iowa Insurers said the House is likely to quickly follow. The bill, SF 2131, passed the Senate 49-0 on Feb. 24. Either that bill or a [...]

Indexed annuities sales increased by over $5 billion in 2013

{February 26th, 2014} by Matt Sirinides

2013 fixed annuity sales up 17% over previous year   LIMRA SRI Indexed annuities, a fixed annuity that provides a minimum guaranteed rate of interest combined with an interest rate tied tied to movement of an index, accounted for 46.3% of all fixed annuities sold and 27% of total annuities sold in 2013, according to [...]

Tech tools to turbo-charge your practice

{February 26th, 2014} by Warren S. Hersch

Picture yourself conducting a video conference call with a client on your smart phone using a multimedia instant messaging service. Or imagine building a detailed dossier about a high net worth prospect’s interests and propensity to buy, courtesy of predictive analytics and data aggregation software. These technology tools, among others, are increasingly being adopted by [...]

4 product trends to know about in 2014

{February 25th, 2014} by Nichole Morford

Which product or investment areas are you most interested in learning more about or adding to your product offerings? We asked more than 100 independent producers this question late last year as part of our 2014 Advisor Survey, and the answers we received tell a lot about the direction the industry is headed. This year, [...]

2nd American Equity attorney appointed to top gov post

{February 25th, 2014} by Victor Epstein

A second member of American Equity Investment Life’s six member legal team has been appointed to a top government post. The insurer’s associate general counsel, Kevin W. Techau, assumed the position of U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa on Friday. Its former general counsel, Nick Gerhart, was named Iowa Insurance Commissioner in June [...]

Manhattan Life Launches New Fixed Annuity Product Line

{February 25th, 2014} by Todd Hayden

Houston, TX – February 24, 2014 The Manhattan Life Insurance Company (MLIC) today announced the introduction of a new Multi-Year Guaranteed Fixed annuity product line. The Preferred Choice Series is a single-premium deferred annuity line offering guaranteed periods of three, five, six, and seven years. The Preferred Choice Series five, six, and seven year products [...]

LIMRA: Annuities See Largest Quarterly Percentage Increase In 11 Years

{February 25th, 2014} by N/A

WINDSOR, Conn., Feb. 24, 2014 -Total annuity sales hit $61.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013 representing an increase of 17 percent — the largest quarterly percentage increase in 11 years, according to LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute (SRI). For full year 2013, annuity sales were $230.1 billion, a 5 percent increase over 2012. Fourth [...]

Allstate Sees First U.S. Sales Force Growth Since 2007; Canada Also Higher

{February 25th, 2014} by Michael Buck

NORTHBROOK, Ill. – Allstate Corp. in 2013 saw a rise in its U.S. exclusive agency sales force, the first time that figure has grown since 2007 because of declines brought on by planned agency consolidations and mergers, the company said in its annual financial filing. The company in 2013 had about 9,600 exclusive agencies in [...]

The Phoenix Companies Launches Phoenix Phoenix Personal Retirement ChoiceSM Annuity

{February 25th, 2014} by The Phoenix Companies, Inc

Latest addition to the company’s fixed indexed annuity portfolio is focused on growing retirement funds HARTFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–February 19, 2014– The Phoenix Companies, Inc. (NYSE:PNX) today announced the launch of Phoenix Personal Retirement ChoiceSM, a single premium fixed indexed annuity with an optional Guaranteed Lifetime Income Benefit rider. Designed for individuals approaching or already in [...]

What the Facebook-WhatsApp deal means for advisors

{February 25th, 2014} by Janet Levaux

Facebook’s (FB) $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp, a messaging application used by about 450 million users worldwide on their mobile devices, may not make financial sense to all observers. But, the strategic move, announced Wednesday, should be taken very seriously by financial advisors and their broker-dealers, experts say. WhatsApp is taking on messaging titans like [...]

National Life Group Reports 2013 Financial Results

{February 25th, 2014} by National Life Group

Company Sets Record for Net Income and Life Insurance Sales Assets Under Management Pass $30 Billion Mark Statutory Surplus Stands At $1.4 Billion Insurance In Force of $75.0 Billion MONTPELIER, VERMONT, February 25, 2014 – National Life Group today released its consolidated financial results for 2013, reporting new records in net income, total assets under [...]

IRS issues rollover guidance

{February 24th, 2014} by Dan Berman

The Internal Revenue Service has issued guidance for employers whose 401(k) plans offer Roth accounts for the rules governing rollovers by participants younger than retirement age. The rules for the conversions, which were first allowed last year, were annotated by Towers Watson, which noted that more than half of the 822 employers (in a company [...]

A.M. Best Upgrades Issuer Credit Ratings of American Financial Group’s Key Annuity Subsidiaries

{February 24th, 2014} by Business Wire

OLDWICK, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–February 21, 2014– A.M. Best has upgraded the issuer credit ratings (ICR) to “a+” from “a” and affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of A (Excellent) of Great American Life Insurance Company (GALIC) and its wholly owned subsidiary, Annuity Investors Life Insurance Company (AILIC), the key annuity subsidiaries of American Financial Group, Inc. [...]

Indexed annuities gain popularity while rates remain low

{February 24th, 2014} by Darla Mercado

A former black sheep, indexed annuities are becoming more popular   Bernie Gacona, director of annuities at Wells Fargo 1 commen Indexed annuities, long the black sheep of retirement products, are enjoying a wave of popularity among financial advisers grappling with low interest rates. Indexed annuities are a type of fixed annuity that credits clients’ [...]

John Hancock’s Redesigned Accumulation IUL Product Offers Strong Death Benefit Protection, Significant Cash Value Growth Potential

{February 24th, 2014} by PR Newswire Association LLC

Enhanced Product Helps Consumers Protect Their Financial Future  BOSTON, Feb. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — John Hancock Insurance today announced that it has launched a redesigned indexed universal life insurance product—Accumulation IUL. The redesigned product provides strong death benefit protection and significant cash value accumulation potential that can help consumers supplement their retirement income and meet [...]

First Female CEO Underwrites New Chapter For Insurance

{February 24th, 2014} by Gilly Wright

UNITED KINGDOM One of the world’s oldest insurance markets, Lloyd’s ofLondon, has appointed the first female CEO in its 325 year history. But as theLondon market confronts one of the most challenging periods in its development, new CEOInga Beale will need to call on all the skills she has developed working for 30 years in [...]

25 best insurance movies

{February 24th, 2014} by Daniel Williams

Who knew insurance could be so… cinematic? Well, Hollywood, for starters. In researching this project, I found that 1,634 movies and TV episodes come up in IMDB.com when searching the keyword “insurance.” Click here to view 21-25 Click here to view 16-20 Click here to view 11-15 Click here to view 6-10 Click here to view [...]

The latest annuity innovation: Contracts with structured products

{February 23rd, 2014} by Darla Mercado

The latest annuity innovation — contracts that use structured products to buffer clients’ account values against downside losses — is starting to gain interest among financial advisers. Structured-product annuities are the latest concoction to emerge from life insurers’ test kitchens. In most cases, these annuities place a premium on principal protection and steady account value [...]

The latest in annuities strategies

{February 23rd, 2014} by InvestmentNews

A new report offers a look into the popularity behind indexed and structured product annuities Two types of products are getting new attention in this low interest rate environment: indexed and structured product annuities. While indexed annuities may provide a new alternative to bonds in this low interest rate environment, structured product annuities are viewed [...]

What’s ahead for Fidelity & Guaranty?

{February 22nd, 2014} by Joe Gardyasz

Business Record insurance and finance reporter Joe Gardyasz recently interviewed Lee Launer Jr., CEO of Fidelity & Guaranty Life Holdings Inc., and Phil Gass, the company’s chairman, about the company’s plans as it transitions its corporate headquarters from Baltimore to Des Moines. In December, Fidelity & Guaranty completed an initial public offering of stock, which [...]

10 states with the most millionaires

{February 21st, 2014} by Investment News

Only four states had more than 7% millionaires* per capita in 2013, according to Phoenix Marketing International. Check to see if your state made the list. *Millionaire households = $1 million or more in investible assets.   Image by iStock.

AXA Profit Rises 10% in 2013 on Life, Property and Casualty

{February 21st, 2014} by Fabio Benedetti-Valentini

AXA SA, Europe’s second-largest insurer, posted a 10 percent increase in 2013 profit on higher earnings at its life and savings and property and casualty divisions. Net income rose to €4.48 billion ($6.15 billion) from €4.06 billion [$5.568 billion] a year earlier, the Paris-based insurer said today. Earnings missed the €4.74 billion [$6.5 billion] average [...]

Aegon CEO Upbeat Despite Fourth-Quarter, Full-Year 2013 Declines in Net Income

{February 21st, 2014} by Fran Matso Lysiak

The HAGUE, Netherlands – Aegon N.V.’s fourth-quarter and full-year 2013 net income declined sharply but its chief executive officer says “solid results this quarter completed a good year for Aegon and provide clear evidence that we are delivering on our objective of growing our business profitability.” Aegon N.V.’s fourth-quarter net income declined 60% to 174 [...]

IRA assets to hit $9T by 2018

{February 21st, 2014} by Warren S. Hersch

The individual retirement account market will account for more than one-third of retirement market assets by year-end 2018, according to new research. Cerulli Associates discloses this finding in “Retirement Markets 2013: Data & Dynamics of Employer-Sponsored Plans.” This 11th edition of the annual report examines the size and segmentation of public and private U.S. retirement [...]

A.M. Best Upgrades Issuer Credit Ratings of American International Group, Inc.’s Domestic Life/Health Subsidiaries

{February 21st, 2014} by Best's News Service

Oldwick – A.M. Best has upgraded the issuer credit ratings (ICR) to “a+” from “a” and affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of A (Excellent) of American International Group, Inc.‘s (AIG) (New York, NY) [NYSE: AIG] four domestic life/health companies. The outlook for the ICRs has been revised to stable from positive, while the outlook [...]

Military Families Who Work With Advisors Put Aside More Funds Than Those Who Don’t

{February 21st, 2014} by Cyril Tuohy

A new survey by First Command Financial Services finds that members of the nation’s armed services who work with a financial advisor put away as much as $2,000 more per month than those who don’t, a trend that is expected to continue over the next several months. Military families put away as much as $4,018 [...]