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Industry Articles

Court Rejects Northwestern Mutual’s Denial Of Death Benefit

{October 31st, 2014} by Cyril Tuohy

The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that Northwestern Mutual acted improperly when it refused to pay the death benefit of a dead man the company claimed had withheld information about his health history when filling out his life insurance application. In the case, Jacky L. Larson v. The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., the state’s […]

AARP article: “Don’t buy equity indexed annuities

{October 31st, 2014} by James Cadle

Well, here we go again. This time, it’s published by AARP in the April/May 2014 issue of their magazine. Titled “Don’t Buy It” and written by a stock broker, professor and financial writer named Allan Roth, the article describes equity indexed annuities and several other products as “some of the worst investments and financial products you can […]

8 precautions when using indexed universal life to save for retirement

{October 31st, 2014} by Chris Conklin

The first index universal life product was brought to market a mere nine years ago, yet sales for this product line have grown substantially each year. In fact, last year’s sales of index universal life exceeded $550 million of annualized premium.  A key reason that index universal life has become so popular is that a […]

Top five regrets of the dying (and why advisors should care)

{October 31st, 2014} by Paul Wilson

One of the biggest hurdles faced by advisors in the life and health sector is the fact that people hate to talk about illness, aging and death. And on some level, who can blame them? It’s scary. Click here to read…

5 business books to inspire you

{October 31st, 2014} by Daniel Williams

Earlier this fall, I published my selection of the 25 best business books. You can find the full list at best business books. In case you missed the titles, I wanted to share with you five of the business books that had the biggest impact on my career. Click here to read…

New rules for annuities and target date funds inspire products race

{October 31st, 2014} by Darla Mercado

  Retirement plan service providers are revving up their product development engines now that the Treasury and Labor departments are paving the way for annuities to be paired with target date funds in 401(k) plans. Plan service providers have long awaited guidance from regulators on whether plan sponsors can use these products as qualified default […]

New annuity study: Knowledge and attitude are keys to growth

{October 30th, 2014} by LIMRA

A new LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute study found that the more knowledge someone has about annuities, the more likely they are to have a positive attitude about them and eventually own one.   “Knowledge and attitude are the key factors,” said Jafor Iqbal, associate managing director, LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute. “Households with positive attitudes are […]

Allianz Life Introduces New Social Security Tools for Consumers and Financial Professionals

{October 30th, 2014} by Victoria Peterson

A Social Security video that illustrates factors people should consider when planning their Social Security benefits is now available at www.allianzlife.com/socialsecurity. The video, developed by Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life®), is one component of a Social Security education program that includes other planning resources and a web tool. Offering key issues […]

Northwestern Mutual Declares Industry-Leading Dividends

{October 30th, 2014} by Northwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual will share its success with its policy owners in 2015 through an estimated $5.5 billion dividend payout. It will be a record payout for the financial security leader and is expected to exceed its estimated 2014 payout by $300 million. “This dividend result is great news for our policy owners,” said John Schlifske, […]

Regulators Give Annuities a Green Light for Retirement

{October 30th, 2014} by Jeff Holt

The Treasury issued guidance supporting the use of deferred annuities in target-date funds. Why does this matter to investors? As the retirement landscape has shifted investors from the predictable payments of defined-benefit plans to the relative uncertainty of saving for their own retirements via defined-contribution plans, plan sponsors and industry practitioners have sought to combine […]

Investment Advisor Sentenced To 30 Years In Prison

{October 30th, 2014} by Victoria Peterson

  A former Georgia investment adviser was sentenced to 30 years in prison Tuesday for committing fraud that fueled a bank’s collapse, cost investors millions of dollars and turned the accused banker into a fugitive who was ultimately — and mistakenly — declared dead. Aubrey Lee Price, 48, returned to U.S. District Court for sentencing […]

The Phoenix Cos. Is Late Again With SEC Filings

{October 30th, 2014} by Matthew Sturdevant

  The Phoenix Cos. and its subsidiary are late again with financial filings due to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the latest of several delays, and it will result in more fines. The parent company was supposed to file its second-quarter earnings report for 2014 on Friday, Oct. 24, and the subsidiary, PHL Variable […]

Analysts Look To Genworth’s 3Q Announcements

{October 30th, 2014} by Cyril Tuohy

  With third-quarter earnings from life and long-term care insurance carriers rolling in this week, industry experts are looking closely at Genworth Financial and its long-term care claims review, as well as annual actuarial reviews at a half-dozen other large carriers. The big story remains with Genworth, which is scheduled to report its quarterly earnings […]

The 5 best closing lines

{October 28th, 2014} by Emily Holbrook

Closing lines: They can be a little cheesy, sometimes unnecessary and most times overly dramatic. But they’ve also worked — on some occasions — to help close sales and gain clients. Of course, in reality, you’re not “closing” a sale, but opening a relationship once that prospect signs up for a policy.  Click here to read…

3 reasons to wait until your clients retire to make a Roth conversion

{October 28th, 2014} by Jeffrey Levine

One of the most common questions clients ask about Roth IRAs is “Should I make a Roth conversion?” If the answer is yes, the next question is “When should I convert?” While Roth conversions can make sense at any age, depending on your clients’ particular circumstances, generally speaking, the younger a client is, the more […]

5 ways to improve your client’s life insurance situation

{October 28th, 2014} by Allen D. Gersten

Since life insurance underwriting is an imperfect ‘science,’ it offers both opportunities for surprisingly good outcomes and disappointing setbacks. It’s well known that one company’s good risk is another company’s decline or highly rated case. Because of the potential disparity in responses to a case, advisors are faced with the daunting task of aligning a […]

IRS Posts New Limits for 2015 Retirement Plan Contributions

{October 24th, 2014} by Ann Marsh

The IRS has released its new contribution levels for tax-deferred savings plans in 2015 — and the higher dollar figures may mean more to clients right now than in other years. That’s the message from CFP/CPA Karl Schwartz, a Miami-based advisor with Hewins Financial Advisors, who chalks the greater impact up to slow wage growth. […]

Top 25 U.S. charities

{October 24th, 2014} by Michael S. Fischer

Any lingering doubts that donor-advised funds have come into their own have largely dissipated with the publication of The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s 2014 Philanthropy 400, which ranks the 400 charities that collect the most from private sources. Four of the top 10 charities in 2013 raised money primarily from wealthy donors by offering donor-advised funds. In […]

Why you shouldn’t push whole life

{October 24th, 2014} by Mack Dudayev

Even though there’s a polarizing debate among life insurance agents about the role of pure protection life insurance, the products in that arena are still growing in popularity. Some agents continue to be attached to the notion that whole life insurance is a good product for the consumer. The truth is, for the huge majority […]

Analysts question whether LPL is out of the regulatory woods

{October 23rd, 2014} by Bruce Kelly

Boost in regulatory charges that cut third-quarter earnings estimate results in at least one ratings downgrade   Mark Casady, the chairman and CEO of LPL Financial, faces more regulatory issues. Analysts said LPL Financial Holdings Inc. still has plenty of questions hanging over it after cutting its third-quarter earnings forecast by 11 cents a share […]

Focusing on female clients means helping with their lives, not just money

{October 23rd, 2014} by Liz Skinner

Advisers give tips on what successful women want in a financial professional Advisers who succeed in attracting and retaining female clients focus on education and helping women not just with their finances, but with their lives. “We help them clear away the hurdles that prevent them from focusing on their highest priorities,” said Paige Harty, […]

ACLI Chief: Regulators Should Keep Consumers in Mind When Setting New Rules

{October 23rd, 2014} by Jeff Jeffrey

As the federal government and international regulators move forward with efforts to enact new rules for the insurance industry, they should not “lose sight of” the reason rules are implemented in the first place — to help the consumer, said American Council of Life Insurers President and Chief Executive Officer Dirk Kempthorne. During ACLI’s annual […]

LIMRA: Knowledge Of Annuities Boosts Ownership

{October 23rd, 2014} by LIMRA

A new LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute study found that the more knowledge someone has about annuities, the more likely they are to have a positive attitude about them and eventually own one. “Knowledge and attitude are the key factors,” said Jafor Iqbal, associate managing director, LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute. “Households with positive attitudes are six […]

New LinkedIn tool could help advisers with marketing, compliance

{October 23rd, 2014} by Mark Schoeff Jr.

Function allows exporting of first-degree connections, endorsements, comments made in groups and other LinkedIn content   A tool recently introduced by the online professional network LinkedIn could help investment advisers and brokers with both marketing and compliance. LinkedIn has made it possible for users to download an archive of their data with one click. Information […]

New York Life backs ex-Zell partner in emerging markets bet

{October 23rd, 2014} by Zachary Tracer

(Bloomberg) — New York Life Insurance Co. is turning to billionaire Sam Zell’s former partner to make bets on emerging-market real estate. The insurer took a stake in Jaguar Growth Partners and plans to commit as much as $100 million to the first fund at the firm, which will invest in properties in developing markets, according to […]

This is the coolest life insurance marketing EVER

{October 23rd, 2014} by Bill Coffin

A little while ago, we had the pleasure of visiting with Marvin Feldman, the head of Life Happens, a nonprofit organization that promotes the value of life insurance. We here at LifeHealthPro and National Underwriter Life & Health are big fans of Life Happens, but we were not prepared for what they sent us. This […]

Why it’s still a juggling act for women in financial services

{October 23rd, 2014} by Maureen Adolf

Women’s Association president discusses how women can start to effect change   Last year, I had the luxury of retiring from a 30-year career with a major financial services firm. I was pregnant when I began there; my daughter is 30 years old now. The exciting thing, from my perspective, is that the daughter I […]

Top 10 attributes of ‘elite’ retirement advisors

{October 22nd, 2014} by Marlene Y. Satter

To come out ahead in the retirement business today, there are 10 attributes that advisors and service providers need to demonstrate. These same attributes are associated with leadership, stewardship and are critical to an ethical decision-making framework. So says Don Trone, founder and CEO of 3ethos, a Mystic, Connecticut leadership consultancy. Trone has co-written a […]

4 mistakes advisers make with Millennial women

{October 22nd, 2014} by Mary Beth Storjohann

Make sure you don’t alienate the next generation of women poised to amass more wealth than their parent   Working with Millennial clients has become a hot topic within our industry in recent years and months. How to market/not market, how to invest/save, communication preferences, goals and the big question — “Why even bother?” Whether […]

Five reasons to postpone retirement

{October 22nd, 2014} by New York Life

Are you considering postponing your retirement? Well, you’re not alone. According to the Employment Benefits Research Institute, in 2011 36 percent of workers expected to retire after age 65, compared to only 25 percent of workers in 2006. Gallup likewise finds that people are retiring on average four years later than they were in the […]

Fixed Index Annuities can be a Perfect Fit for Women

{October 22nd, 2014} by Women, Money & Power

There’s no question that finance is traditionally a male-dominated industry. Though the number of female financial professionals has increased dramatically over the last several years, there is a lingering sense among many female consumers that they are not part of the club when it comes to fully understanding and controlling their finances. A recent study […]

Indexed universal life insurance faces fresh scrutiny

{October 22nd, 2014} by Darla Mercado

Regulators homing in on whether insurers are presenting a picture of performance that’s too ros  Financial advisers working with indexed universal life insurance are finding themselves in the middle of a heated battle between state regulators and the life insurance industry. In an otherwise sleepy corner of the product market, indexed universal life insurance has […]

Phoenix Companies Partners with Credit Suisse to Launch CS Tactical Multi Asset Index

{October 22nd, 2014} by The Phoenix Companies

New Crediting Options Linked to Exclusive Index Enhances Fixed Indexed Annuities Portfolio HARTFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– The Phoenix Companies, Inc. (NYSE: PNX) today announced that it has entered into a partnership with Credit Suisse to license the CS Tactical Multi Asset Index?, a new Exchange Traded Fund (ETF)-based index available exclusively to Phoenix fixed indexed annuities […]

Carriers Ramp Up For National Save For Retirement Week

{October 22nd, 2014} by Cyril Tuohy

Congress has declared Oct. 19-25 National Save for Retirement Week, so advisors and employees should be prepared for an onslaught of tips and advice courtesy of their insurance carriers and retirement-services providers. The most effective way to encourage employees to save is through their workplace retirement plans. Insurers promoting employer-based retirement planning are reminding employees […]

Apollo-backed Athene invests $8.4 billion over 12 months

{October 22nd, 2014} by Laura Davison, Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) — Athene Holding Ltd., the insurer tied to Apollo Global Management LLC, added $8.4 billion of investments over 12 months at an average yield of 6.76 percent as the company pursues mortgage-related wagers. Net investment income for the quarter ended June 30 was “in line” with results from the prior three months, when the […]

A.M. Best Revises Outlook to Positive for Athene USA Group’s Members; Assigns Ratings to Athene Life Re and Athene Holding Ltd

{October 22nd, 2014} by Best's News Service

Oldwick – A.M. Best has revised the outlook to positive from stable and affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of B++ (Good) and the issuer credit ratings (ICR) of “bbb+” of the members of Athene USA Group (AUSAG). (See below for a detailed listing of AUSAG’s group members and ratings.) AUSAG is the consolidating rating […]

A.M. Best Upgrades Ratings of Americo Life, Inc. and Its Core Subsidiary

{October 22nd, 2014} by BusinessWire

OLDWICK, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– A.M. Best has upgraded the financial strength rating (FSR) to A (Excellent) from A- (Excellent) and issuer credit rating (ICR) to “a” from “a-” of Americo Financial Life and Annuity Insurance Company (AFL) (Dallas, TX). The outlook has been revised to stable from positive. Concurrently, A.M. Best has affirmed the FSRs of […]

Carriers Ramping Up For FIA Sales Through B/Ds

{October 22nd, 2014} by Linda Koco

Say that this week’s stock market volatility stirs up consumer desire to put money in financial products with guarantees. Say that fixed annuities come to mind. Who is likely to get that sale or that inquiry? Would it be a life insurance agent, a rep at the local bank or maybe the family stockbroker/financial advisor? […]

LPL cuts profit forecast to cover higher-than-expected regulatory costs

{October 21st, 2014} by Bruce Kelly

B-D projects it will need another $18M, which will slice 11 cents a share from third-quarter earnings Indicating it still had unfinished and costly business with regulators, LPL Financial Holdings Inc. said on Tuesday it was cutting its third-quarter earnings forecast by 11 cents a share. The company now expects its broker dealer, LPL Financial, […]

A tough stretch for variable annuities

{October 21st, 2014} by Ed McCarthy, CFP

It’s been a so-so stretch for variable annuity (VA) sales. According to LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute, VA sales fell 5 percent in 2014’s second quarter, totaling $36.2 billion. Year-to-date, VA sales reached $70.4 billion, a 4 percent drop from 2013.  Click here to read…

FSB Releases Guidance on Approach to Resolution of Insolvent Systemically Important Companies

{October 21st, 2014} by Jeff Jeffrey

WASHINGTON – Insurance companies with highly complex business models that become insolvent may not be able to rely on traditional resolution mechanisms to avoid suffering a catastrophic collapse that affects the global financial system, according to new guidance released by the G-20’s Financial Stability Board. In an update to its guidance on the Key Attributes […]

MassMutual Sues JPMorgan Seeking Judgment That ‘RetireSmart’ Doesn’t Constitute Trademark Infringement

{October 21st, 2014} by Fran Matso Lysiak

BOSTON – Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. has sued JPMorgan Chase & Co. in federal court over its use of the term “RetireSmart” for financial services, saying it does not constitute trademark infringement on JPMorgan’s rights in the term “SmartRetirement.” In its complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court of the District of Massachusetts, MassMutual […]

How a Red Pen can Be Bloody Mess for an Annuity IMO

{October 21st, 2014} by Steven A. Morelli

The pen is mightier than the sword. You heard that one, right? As such, a pen can slice off a goodly amount of your assets and puncture your reputation. Does that pen scribble lies or defame another? No. It merely draws a red circle, this one around a number – 12.2% perhaps. That was a […]

Prudential Operations Chief: The Time for Federal Regulation Is ‘Clearly Here’

{October 21st, 2014} by Jeff Jeffrey

WASHINGTON – The 50-state approach to regulating life insurance has proven itself through the industry’s stability, but the time for federal regulation is “clearly here,” said Stephen Pelletier, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Prudential Financial’s U.S. businesses. Speaking to an audience at the American Council of Life Insurers’ annual conference in Washington, […]

Americans Share Their Biggest Financial Fears

{October 21st, 2014} by PR Newswire

BLOOMINGTON, Ill., Oct. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Americans are finding cause for concern with their finances, and uncertainty over their spending habits and overall financial confidence might be behind it. According to the latest COUNTRY Financial Security Index® survey nearly half of individuals (47 percent) do not keep track of their monthly discretionary spending whatsoever. […]

Barely half of new producer hires last 12 months in their new jobs … and other bad news

{October 21st, 2014} by PropertyCasuality360

Independent agents/brokers posted a 56 percent success rate in producer hiring in the past five years, although the hiring performance of the top and bottom firms varied widely, found a new study from Reagan Consulting. Another key result of the Reagan Consulting Producer Recruiting & Development (PR&D) research was that only 35 percent of producers […]

White House support for insurance-specific rules

{October 20th, 2014} by Arthur D. Postal

The White House appears likely to support legislation allowing the Federal Reserve Board to apply insurance-based capital standards to the insurance portion of any insurance holding company it oversees, the president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurance said today. Indeed, the bill will be “well-received at the White House,” Dirk Kempthorne said […]

Hacked! What to Do When Personal and Financial Information has been Compromised

{October 20th, 2014} by Targeted News Service

WASHINGTON,Oct. 15 — The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards issued the following news release: With a number of large retailers and banks reporting massive data security breaches in the last year, leaving hundreds of millions of consumers’ personal information compromised, it seems inevitable that one’s identity and personal information will be stolen at some […]

Most Millennials Seek Budgeting, Savings, Lending Advice

{October 20th, 2014} by Cyril Tuohy

When millennials seek financial advice — having lived through low wages, high unemployment and heavy debt loads — they look for guidance in budgeting, saving for school and managing student loans, a recent TIAA-CREF survey shows. For many members of Generation Y, budgeting is difficult and that’s why they need help, Amy Podzius, director of […]

EMC Insurance Office to Replace Downtown Des Moines Buildings

{October 20th, 2014} by Associated Press

An insurance company plans to begin demolishing three downtown Des Moines, Iowa, structures to make room for a new office building. EMC Insurance spokeswoman Lisa Hamilton tells The Des Moines Register that crews will begin tearing down the three brick buildings next week. The century-old Foster Building, Robertson Building and an annex will be replaced […]

4 more answers every investor needs to know about annuities

{October 20th, 2014} by Daniel Williams

From Oct. 15-17 many of the major players in the annuity world gathered in Scottsdale, Ariz. at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa for the 2014 IMO Summit. You can read more information about annuities from the event. Prior to the 2014 IMO Summit, NAFA sent out a paper (“Answers every investor needs to know […]

Private equity to buy European insurance assets in 2015

{October 20th, 2014} by Sarah Jones

(Bloomberg) — Private-equity investors are expected to buy European insurance assets in 2015 as more companies sell non-essential businesses, according to a Towers Watson report. About 82 percent of the 264 executives surveyed in Europe, the Middle East and Africa predict private equity to be among the top three groups of acquirers, lured by insurers’ […]

New rules for IRA rollovers coming

{October 20th, 2014} by Allen Greenberg

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The Department of Labor is likely to hold broker-dealers who chase IRA rollovers to the same fiduciary standards that retirement advisors must meet. That was the prediction offered Friday by ERISA attorney Fred Reish, who noted that, with an estimated $2 trillion in the 401(k) accounts of baby boomers at stake, […]

10 commandments of investor behavior

{October 20th, 2014} by Emily Zulz

Investor misbehavior: It’s the scurvy of the financial services industry. So suggested Daniel Crosby, the psychologist and behavioral finance expert who recently co-authored Personal Benchmark, during the Financial Services Institute’s second annual Financial Advisor Summit. It took over 500 years for the official cure for scurvy, Vitamin C, to be established — despite the fact […]

Elder Victims Lose $30K On Average To Scams And Theft, Survey Finds

{October 20th, 2014} by Cyril Tuohy

A new study by Allianz Life has found that older Americans who are victims of elder abuse experience an average financial loss of $30,000. Those losses are more likely to come at the hands of people with whom the victims are familiar. The Safeguarding Our Seniors survey was taken by more than 2,000 Americans 65 […]

Elder Financial Abuse Under-Reported And Misunderstood

{October 20th, 2014} by Proquest LLC

Elder financial abuse remains an under-reported and misunderstood issue – one likely to get worse as America’s population ages – according to the 2014 Safeguarding Our Seniors study from Allianz Life Insurance Company ofNorth America (Allianz Life). In its release, the company said that as America’s population ages and life expectancy rises, more cases of […]

More than half of seniors don’t report elder financial abuse by family

{October 20th, 2014} by Warren S. Hersch

Most seniors fail to report incidents of financial exploitation, according to new research. In “2014 Safeguarding Our Seniors,” published by Allianz Life, one in five (19 percent) of adults ages 40 to 64 reported they have an older friend or family member who has been a victim elder abuse. Of this total, more than half […]

Top 10 life insurers: On a four-week losing streak

{October 20th, 2014} by Warren S. Hersch

The past month can hardly be described as bullish for life insurance stocks. For the fourth week running, share prices of most leading life insurers tracked by LifeHealthPro declined, albeit modestly. But the dips don’t come as a surprise, given that major indices have also been trending in negative territory. Click here to read…

Understanding the protection gap: It’s like peeling an onion

{October 17th, 2014} by Neil Sprackling

If you want an illustration of the current state of life insurance sales, look no further than Generation Y, the largest generation group in the US. When they hear the word “agent” they think of the FBI. When they hear “protection” they think of birth control. “Policy” to them means general rules, not an insurance […]

MetLife, AIA said to mull bids for NAB’s life insurance unit

{October 17th, 2014} by Brett Foley and Narayanan Somasundaram

(Bloomberg) — AIA Group Ltd. and MetLife Inc. are among companies weighing bids for National Australia Bank Ltd.’s life insurance unit, which may fetch as much as AU$1.5 billion (US$1.3 billion), people with knowledge of the matter said. National Australia, the nation’s largest lender by assets, is working with JPMorgan Chase & Co. on the […]

Shades Of Gray In The Advisor World

{October 17th, 2014} by Cyril Tuohy

Consultant, advisor, counselor, broker, intermediary. Call them what you will, each provides a service. But following testy exchanges last month between proponents of different standards of fiduciary advice, it was easy to get lost in the fog of labels identifying a registered investment advisor, a fee-based advisor or a commission-based broker. Nailing down the nuances […]

Whole life: where cash value is king

{October 17th, 2014} by Sean Quigley

The phrase “cash is king” is so true, especially for negotiable transactions such as purchasing a vehicle, a home, gold or any other type of investment. Having cash in hand is power, but there is something that can be even more valuable than cash. And that is the cash value in a permanent life insurance […]

NY Life’s deferred income annuity sales top $2B

{October 17th, 2014} by Marlene Satter

Americans are looking for ways to ensure they won’t outlive their income in retirement, said New York Life, and as a result are driving sales higher for its Guaranteed Future Income (GFI) deferred income annuity. Sales of GFI have totaled more than $2 billion since the company introduced it in July of 2011, and 10 […]

A Washington insider’s outlook on annuities

{October 17th, 2014} by Daniel Williams

Speaking at the 2014 IMO Summit in Scottsdale, AZ today, Andy Friedman gave reason for optimism for annuity advisors. “Be wary of tax drag on clients,” said Friedman, who is a political affairs expert and the founder of The Washington Update. “Look at clients’ mutual fund. If those funds are not tax efficient, the clients […]

Insurance & tech: What is big data and how to use it?

{October 17th, 2014} by Lynette Gil

“If there is Big Data, is there Little Data?” – Philosoraptor Ok, so there is no such thing as a velociraptor that is also a philosopher and is called a philosoraptor. That’s just an Internet meme that has been going viral for some time (a meme is a concept that spreads rapidly from person to […]