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Archive for December 2016

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  • Top 10 Annuity Stories of 2016

    {December 29th, 2016} by John Hilton

    Annuities had an up-and-down 2016. The wild ride was reflected in our top 10 annuity stories for the year. Of course, the Department of Labor fiduciary rule was the most significant influencer on annuities. Firms and advisors alike scrambled to figure out what the rule meant for their business. That propelled many of the stories […]

    What The Millennials Are Hearing About Life Insurance

    {December 29th, 2016} by Alexa Hoffman

      As you’ve probably heard is common of my generation, I get my news on my Apple devices. Yes, I’m a millennial; no, I’m not referring only to social media. News apps make it easy to scroll through articles and updates from various reputable publications all in one place. As a millennial who happens to […]

    HAVE Indexed Annuities Become Too Complicated?!?

    {December 27th, 2016} by Sheryl J. Moore

    A recent Investment News article highlighted commentary from myself on how indexed annuities have become “unnecessarily complex.” I stand by that comment. Now, don’t get me wrong- I love indexed annuities, and I want to see the product line continue to thrive. Further, I am always for product innovation and competition when it comes to […]

    Life Insurers Say Forthcoming Accounting Changes Demanding

    {December 27th, 2016} by Denise Lugo

    From Accounting Policy and Practice Report The Accounting Policy & Practice Report ® provides financial accounting policy makers, advisors, and practitioners with the latest news, expert insights, and guidance on emerging, evolving, and complex accounting issues. Expert News & Commentary. By Denise Lugo Potential FASB rule changes for life insurance and annuities contracts would be […]

    3 significant challenges for annuity advisors in 2017

    {December 27th, 2016} by BEN YAHR, GERRY MURTAGH

    We expect to see significant changes in the annuity industry during 2017. The Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule will become applicable in April 2017 and have major impacts on financial services delivered to the retirement market. The DOL rule will affect companies’ strategies and operations, the products they offer, the advice they provide and the […]

    9 reasons retirement may go extinct

    {December 27th, 2016} by Marlene Y. Satter

    Retirement as we know it may be set to disappear, as younger people look for ways to finance surviving into old age. But extinction? Surely not. However, according to the Merrill Edge Report 2016, that might just be in the offing, as workers change how they plan and save for retirement and how they intend […]

    The Big Chill For Annuities In 2017

    {December 27th, 2016} by Ben Mattlin

    With the Department of Labor’s 1,000-page fiduciary regulations due to take effect in April 2017, and a new anti-regulatory administration about to take office in Washington, insurance carriers are facing a double whammy of uncertainty. “Going forward, there just won’t be as many developments of new financial products simply because the insurance companies aren’t sure […]

    Three Passive Income Ideas to Consider for Retirement

    {December 27th, 2016} by Larry Alton

    (Newswire.net — December 24, 2016) — Once you enter your 40s and 50s, retirement is definitely something you should be taking seriously. Many people begin to tire out and dream about finally enjoying some of the money they’ve spent the past few decades earning. But if you aren’t prepared to make money during retirement, you’re […]

    Top Tales Of Annuity Advisors Gone Wrong

    {December 27th, 2016} by Cyril Tuohy

    As we wind down 2016, we take a look back at annuity advisors who did no favors for their clients and found themselves in trouble with the law. Churning Up Trouble A practice known as “churning” led to a 10-year state prison sentence for Joseph Anthony Mele, 31, of Ventura, Calif. Mele pleaded no contest […]

    A New Platform Provides A Different Approach For Annuities

    {December 27th, 2016} by Ben Mattlin

    In mid-December, Global Atlantic Financial Group, a provider of a broad spectrum of insurance, annuities, and other retirement products, announced it would enter 2017 with what it dubbed an industry first: a truly unified distribution organization. “This is the first unified distribution built solely around helping advisors meet their clients’ retirement needs with annuities,” says […]

    Ponzi Schemes And Movie Deals: Tales Of Advisors Behaving Badly

    {December 24th, 2016} by Cyril Tuohy

    From Ponzi schemes to wacky real estate deals and movie ventures to managerial inertia, 2016 was another year filled with rogue advisors and brokers, at least in the eyes of the Securities and Exchange Commission. In a review of financial advisors behaving badly, we highlight brokers and advisors who preferred — either by design or […]

    Great American’s Incoming CEO Wants Insurer Looking for 2026’s Disruptors Today

    {December 23rd, 2016} by Renée Kiriluk-Hill

    CINCINNATI – Disruption is a given and insurers who want to remain relevant need to keep one step ahead of it, according to incoming Great American Insurance Group President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Gruber. “What I want our units to do is look out over the next five to 10 years. What are you […]

    Asia, Life Insurers Are Big Gainers Among Top 25 Largest Insurers

    {December 23rd, 2016} by David Pilla

    OLDWICK, N.J. – Insurers in Japan and China were among the biggest gainers in terms of premiums while life and multiple-line insurers led gains by assets as A.M. Best released its list of the world’s largest 25 insurers based on 2015 data. A.M. Best’s annual rankings found stability at the top, as the top five […]

    New Fixed Annuity Product from AIG

    {December 23rd, 2016} by Rachel Summit

    After a stellar 2016, American International Group (AIG) has just introduced a new seven-year fixed annuity with a lifetime income rider. According to a recent Retirement Income Journal article, Assured Edge Income Builder is issued by American General Life Insurance Company and is currently available in over 20 banks and broker-dealers, with more distribution coming […]

    AIG offers fixed-rate annuity with an income rider

    {December 23rd, 2016} by Editorial Staff

    American International Group, which sold $13.6 billion worth of annuities in the first three quarters of 2016—second to Jackson National’s $14 billion—has introduced a new seven-year fixed annuity with a lifetime income rider. Issued by American General Life Insurance Company, Assured Edge Income Builder is available in over 20 banks and broker-dealers with “broadening of […]

    5 reasons why you shouldn’t use Yelp to find an advisor

    {December 22nd, 2016} by Michael Chamberlain, manager at Chamberlain Financial Planning and Wealth Management

    Yelp is a very popular online site where consumers post ratings based on their personal experience of retail stores, restaurants and service providers. The simplicity of the site is that if you see that 200 people had been to a particular restaurant and each had a very good experience, there’s a good chance that you […]

    The Insurance Renaissance: 6 Minutes of 2016 History: Blog

    {December 22nd, 2016} by Majesco Blog: Ashwin Rodrigues

    Click HERE for original blog by Majesco: December 23, 2016 — We knew that 2016 would be big. To capture the flavor of the pace and magnitude of change, I wrote a series of blogs where I likened the dramatic shifts in insurance technology to what happened during the original Italian Renaissance when education, money, art […]

    GOVERNOR-ELECT SCOTT REAPPOINTS MICHAEL PIECIAK AS COMMISSIONER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL REGULATION

    {December 21st, 2016} by Office of the Governor-Elect.

    Montpelier, Vt. – Governor-elect Phil Scott today announced he would reappoint Michael Pieciak as commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation. The department will also retain the deputy commissioners for each of its four divisions, which include Cynthia Stuart for Banking, Kaj Samsom for Insurance, William Carrigan for Securities, and David Provost for Captive Insurance.  […]

    Dave Wilken to Lead Life Business at Global Atlantic

    {December 21st, 2016} by Global Atlantic Financial Group

    DES MOINES, IOWA, December 20, 2016 — Global Atlantic Financial Group, a leading U.S.-focused retirement, life insurance and reinsurance company, recently announced the hiring of Dave Wilken as President of their Des Moines-based life insurance business. Wilken joins Global Atlantic from Voya, where he served more than 20 years in various leadership roles, most recently […]

    The Roth Annuity: A Bright Star in Annuity Investing

    {December 21st, 2016} by Professors Bloink and Byrnes

    For many clients, the potential downsides of annuity investing can overshadow the valuable security that these products can offer with respect to providing a guaranteed income stream for life — and often for good reason. The tax treatment of a standalone annuity, when combined with the required capital commitment, simply might not make sense for […]

    Where insurance meets innovation

    {December 21st, 2016} by JOE GARDYASZ, Senior Staff Writer

    From hackathons and in-house innovation labs to collaboration with the Global Insurance Accelerator, Iowa-based insurance companies are finding new ways to quickly advance new technologies as they strive to keep ahead of ever-increasing customer expectations.  We interviewed executives with four insurance companies that operate in different sectors of the insurance market to get a pulse […]

    Independent advisors want Trump to repeal DOL fiduciary rule: Survey

    {December 21st, 2016} by IFAWebNews Staff

    The following content has been reprinted in whole or part from a press release, issued statement, or other reports or sources. So-called “main street” independent financial advisors overwhelmingly believe that President-Elect Donald J. Trump should seek to repeal the Department of Labor (DOL) fiduciary rule, according to a survey conducted by the Financial Services Institute […]

    DALBAR Announces the 2016 Annuity Service Award Winners

    {December 21st, 2016} by DALBAR

    Tuesday, December 20, 2016 7:13 PM UTC   Boston, Dec. 20, 2016 — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                        Dalbar Announces the 2016 Annuity Service Award Winners (Boston, MA. December 20, 2016) Dalbar identifies the top annuity providers when […]

    Trump admin has to signal soon if it intends to undo fiduciary rule

    {December 21st, 2016} by Nick Thornton

    For stakeholders holding out hope the Trump administration will intervene on the fiduciary rule, time is running out. This week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce added to the welter of speculation over the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule’s fate. Chamber CEO Thomas Donohue said the organization is urging the incoming Trump administration’s transition team to […]

    Insurance Industry Says More Workforce Training Needed

    {December 21st, 2016} by Hartford Courant

    Dec. 20–With thousands of employees due to retire over the next decade, the state should consider funding workforce development programs at local colleges, insurance lobbyists told a legislative forum Monday. “By next year, 25 percent of the industry is going to be 5 to 10 years away from retirement,” said Hugh Barrett, who works in […]

    DOL rule will force consolidation of broker-dealers, Cerulli report says

    {December 21st, 2016} by Warren S. Hersch

    The Department of Labor’s new conflict-of-interest rule will have a huge effect on advisors and asset managers. And among those to be most severely hit are boutique broker-dealers. So concludes Cerulli Associates, a Boston-based research and consulting company, in a new report, “U.S. Broker/Dealer Marketplace 2016: Retooling for a New Competitive Landscape. Examining broker-dealers with […]

    4 reasons why women need life insurance

    {December 20th, 2016} by Brian Greenberg

    Now more than ever, women are redefining their roles at work and at home. Women have more options than ever, from full-time careers outside the home to careers as full-time homemakers with stops nearly everywhere in between. But while women are achieving unprecedented work-life balance and financial independence and solvency, there seems to be one […]

    Could complying with the DOL rule give insurers a competitive advantage?

    {December 20th, 2016} by Warren S. Hersch

    Among the industry’s many gripes about the Department of Labor’s conflict of interest rule, one that rises to the top is cost. Industry estimates peg the cash outlay needed to align company operations with the rule to be in the billions — $11 billion for brokerages alone if a recent estimate by consulting firm A.T. Kearney […]

    NAFA vows to continue DOL rule fight

    {December 20th, 2016} by Kristen Beckman

    On the same day the D.C. circuit court declined its request to block the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, the National Association for Fixed Annuities vowed to continue its fight against the regulation. “We are still working hard to defeat rule and make sure everyone understands our position on that,” said Chip Anderson, NAFA’s executive […]

    Federal Appeals Court Rejects NAFA Request to Halt Fiduciary Rule

    {December 20th, 2016} by Frank Klimko

    WASHINGTON – A federal appeals court has denied a request by the National Association for Fixed Annuities for a preliminary injunction to stop implementation of the U.S. Department of Labor’s new fiduciary rule, upholding a lower court ruling. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit refused to immediately halt the rule, […]

    Have Indexed Annuities Jumped the Shark?

    {December 20th, 2016} by Barron's

    Indexed annuities’ design has grown unnecessarily complex, and that’s not good for advisors or clients, InvestmentNews reports. The publication points to “the uptick in new, ‘exotic’ indices used by insurers, as well as a broad number of mechanisms used to determine the interest credited to an investor.” The exotic “hybrid” indexes behind the new crop […]

    Global Atlantic Financial unifies annuity distribution

    {December 20th, 2016} by Kristen Beckman

    Global Atlantic Financial Group, the Bermuda-based retirement, life insurance and reinsurance company, said it will launch a unified distribution organization on Jan. 1. The organization calls for product-specific teams to come together to offer advisors simplified access to the company’s annuity platform with options designed to address the individual needs of their clients. Global Atlantic’s […]

    A.M. Best Revises Outlooks to Positive for Global Atlantic Financial Group Limited and Its Subsidiaries

    {December 20th, 2016} by AM Best

    OLDWICK, N.J.–(Business Wire)–A.M. Best has revised the outlooks to positive from stable and affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings (Long-Term ICR) of “a-” of Commonwealth Annuity and Life Insurance Company (Southborough, MA), its subsidiaries, First Allmerica Financial Life Insurance Company (Southborough, MA), Forethought Life Insurance Company (Indianapolis, […]

    Merry Christmas!

    {December 20th, 2016} by Wink RockStars

    The Wink office will be closed Friday, December 23rd and Monday, December 26th to spend the joyous holiday with our families.     

    Preparing for a New Year: NAFA Continues to Be Your Voice

    {December 20th, 2016} by Chip Anderson

    MESSAGE FROM NAFA The 2016 presidential election is over and the biggest question for NAFA members is how the Trump victory will impact the status of the DOL fiduciary rule. Different sources in the Trump camp have commented that a Trump administration will repeal the fiduciary rule. Trump himself has been very vocal on overturning […]

    Coming in 2017: More pot-smoking life insurance policyholders

    {December 19th, 2016} by Warren S. Hersch

    Marijuana smoking has been on the rise in recent years. In the wake of the November 2016 elections, the number of users — already 25 million-strong — is likely to increase, and perhaps substantially. Of 9 state ballot initiatives, voters in California, Massachusetts and Nevada approved marijuana use for recreational purposes; their counterparts in Arkansas, Florida […]

    Security Benefit Launches New FIA to Help Meet Immediate Retirement Income Needs or Long-Term Legacy Planning Goals

    {December 19th, 2016} by Security Benefit Life Insurance Company

    Select Benefit Annuity offers financial representatives and their clients the flexibility to plan for a wide variety of retirement goals TOPEKA, Kan., Dec. 19, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Security Benefit Life Insurance Company (Security Benefit) today announced the launch of its new Select Benefit Annuity, a fixed index annuity (FIA) which offers contract-holders the unique […]

    Have indexed annuities become too complicated?

    {December 19th, 2016} by Greg Iacurci

    Fixed indexed annuities are becoming more complex.   Click HERE to view the full article via InvestmentNews; registration required     “They are complex, unnecessarily so, if you ask me,” said Sheryl Moore, president and CEO of Moore Market Intelligence, who tracks indexed annuity products.  

    MetLife CEO: Markets Responding to Trump’s Promises of Regulatory Relief

    {December 19th, 2016} by Frank Klimko

    NEW YORK – The insurance industry and the financial markets are responding positively to promises of regulatory relief and tax reform from the administration of President-elect Donald Trump, said Steven A. Kandarian, MetLife Inc. chairman, president and chief executive officer. “The incoming Trump administration has sent positive signals about pro-growth tax reform, increased infrastructure spending […]

    Update: Insurers Welcome Fed Interest Rate Hike; MetLife Forecasts Earnings Growth

    {December 19th, 2016} by Frank Klimko

    WASHINGTON – (Corrects information in second paragraph.) Insurers reacted positively to news the Federal Reserve increased interest rates on investments by 0.25% — the second such rate increase in a year — and signaled it was open to more rates hikes in 2017. The Federal Reserve Board of Governors unanimously voted to raise the benchmark […]

    Fed hike a positive for rate-sensitive insurance products

    {December 19th, 2016} by Warren S. Hersch

    The Federal Reserve’s increase in short-term interest rates should benefit life insurers and their policyholders, according to a new report. Moody’s Investors Service arrives at this conclusion in a Dec. 14 “Sector Comment” report. The research examines the effect of the Federal Reserve’s rate hike on U.S. financial institutions, including banks, life insurers and asset […]

    Prudential Investigates Wells Fargo-Sold Policies

    {December 17th, 2016} by Cyril Tuohy

    Prudential Financial sold a relatively small amount of term life insurance products through Wells Fargo’s retail banking outlets, a senior Prudential executive said Thursday. The Newark, N.J.-based insurer announced Monday it would suspend sales of its MyTerm life insurance policies through the scandal-tainted Wells Fargo. The bank admitted sales reps had opened thousands of bogus bank accounts […]

    Lost Life Insurance? New State Tool Helps Find Lost Policies and Annuities

    {December 17th, 2016} by William Bornhoft (Patch Staff)

    Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman announced that Minnesotans now have access to a new online service they can use to help locate lost life insurance policies or annuity contracts that belonged to a deceased family member. Developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the free Life Insurance Policy Locator allows individuals who believe […]

    Capturing the millennial middle market with smart analytics

    {December 16th, 2016} by Elliott Wallace

    The middle market remains a largely untapped opportunity for life insurance carriers, worth approximately $20 billion of potential revenue, according to a McKinsey & Company study. But carriers intent on capturing the middle market will need to both rethink who they sell to and break the mold of how they sell.   The approximately 40 […]

    D.C. Circuit Court refuses to block DOL fiduciary rule

    {December 16th, 2016} by Melanie Waddell, Mike Scarcella

    A federal appeals court on Thursday refused to block Obama administration regulations that were adopted to minimize conflicts of interest in the retirement-investment industry, a significant setback for financial planners, insurance agents and other advisers who said the rule will disrupt the marketplace. The National Association for Fixed Annuities in November urged the Washington court to freeze […]

    Voya: From Orange to Origami

    {December 15th, 2016} by Kerry Petcher

    Almost four years after its IPO, Voya (formerly ING-US) has rebranded, retooled itself as a fixed indexed annuity shop and launched an ad campaign featuring origami rodents that talk. But it is still searching for the right mix of products, personnel and organizational structure. So, what’s up at Voya Financial? Like its fellow life insurers, […]

    How Apollo Global’s Crisis-Era Bet On Boring Annuities Turned Into A $72 Billion Business

    {December 15th, 2016} by Antoine Gara

    Athene is big and Athene is complicated, but the $87 billion in assets fixed annuities giant created by Apollo Global in 2009 is now one of the smartest bets the PE firm made during the dark days of the crisis. On Friday, Athene listed its shares on the New York Stock Exchange, raising $1.1. billion […]

    NAFA Elects 2017 Board of Directors, Treasurer for Executive Operating Committee

    {December 15th, 2016} by NAFA

    Membership Affirms New Leaders at Its Annual Meeting WASHINGTON D.C. (December 8, 2016) — The general membership of NAFA, the National Association for Fixed Annuities, approved recommendations for its newly elected 2017 board of directors at the association’s annual meeting held recently in Phoenix, Ariz. Nominations were received from the membership at large, and candidates […]

    Partners Advantage Launches LifeAnswers Financial Group to Create New Opportunities for Experienced and New Insurance Agents

    {December 15th, 2016} by Mark Stone

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Partners Advantage Launches LifeAnswers Financial Group to Create New Opportunities for Experienced and New Insurance Agents Riverside, CA (December 15, 2016) – Partners Advantage Insurance Services announced the launch of LifeAnswers Financial Group. LifeAnswers is a direct to the agent marketing and life insurance sales opportunity that combines a next generation technology […]

    Mercer Bullard: Think DOL’s Fiduciary Rule Is Too Strict? Blame SEC

    {December 15th, 2016} by Think Advisor

    Had Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White succeeded in passing a fiduciary standard rule, the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule would likely be less stringent. So says Mercer Bullard, law professor at the University of Mississippi Law School. In a candid interview with ThinkAdvisor, the investor watchdog provided a withering assessment of Chair […]

    New York Takes Aim At Annuity Replacement Practices

    {December 15th, 2016} by N/A

    Financial Services Superintendent Maria T. Vullo today announced that the Department of Financial Services (DFS) has issued guidance to remind life insurers, producers and distributors of their obligations under New York Insurance Law and regulations to perform an adequate suitability review when recommending the sale or replacement of an annuity.  Suitability review requires sellers to […]

    OFR: Financial System More Stable, but Life Insurers Continue to Pose Risks

    {December 15th, 2016} by Frank Klimko

    WASHINGTON – Life insurers still represent significant risks to the U.S. economy because carriers continue to struggle with the low interest rate environment and a decline in equity values that could increase their vulnerability to collapse, according to a new government report. The latest assessment was made in the U.S. Office of Financial Research’s 2016 […]

    Prudential suspends distribution of MyTerm policies through Wells Fargo

    {December 15th, 2016} by Business Wire

    NEWARK, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU) announced today that it will suspend the distribution of MyTerm policies through all Wells Fargo bank branches and website, pending the results of Prudential’s review of how the product is sold by Wells Fargo. Launched in 2007, MyTerm is a simplified issue term insurance product that was created […]

    A.M. Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company and Its Subsidiaries

    {December 15th, 2016} by Best's News

    Oldwick – A.M. Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A+ (Superior) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings of “aa-” of Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, United of Omaha Life Insurance Company, Companion Life Insurance Company (Hauppauge, NY) and United World Life Insurance Company. Concurrently, A.M. Best has affirmed the Long-Term […]

    Increased Market Volatility Drives Rating Outlook Negative for U.S. Life/Annuity Industry

    {December 15th, 2016} by AM Best

    OLDWICK, N.J., December 19, 2016 — A.M. Best has revised its outlook to negative from stable for the U.S. life/annuity (L/A) industry, citing increased volatility across economic and regulatory fronts, which includes continuing interest rate pressures. The Best’s Briefing, titled, “Increased Market Volatility Drives Rating Outlook Negative for U.S. Life/Annuity Industry,” states that L/A insurers […]

    Annuity Sales to Plunge Under DOL Fiduciary Rule: Cerulli

    {December 15th, 2016} by ThinkAdvisor

    U.S. variable annuity and fixed indexed annuity sales are expected to decline by at least 10% through 2018 as the industry struggles to adapt to upcoming regulations put forth by the Department of Labor, according to Cerulli Associates. The Boston-based global research and consulting firm states in its research that while insurers are trying to […]

    Prudential fraud case grows, whistleblower attorneys speak out

    {December 14th, 2016} by C. Ryan Barber

    For three months, Wells Fargo has reeled from scandal, hit by the revelation the bank’s employees created thousands of unauthorized accounts for unknowing customers. It now appears the scheme may run deeper, and impact some customers who purchased life insurance policies through those same employees. A fresh lawsuit alleges that bank employees signed up customers up […]

    Fiduciary Rule Drives Reconsideration of Fee-Based Annuities

    {December 14th, 2016} by John Manganaro

    U.S. variable annuity (VA) and fixed-index annuity (FIA) sales are expected to decline by at least 10% through 2018 as the industry struggles to adapt to upcoming fiduciary reform regulations put forth by the Department of Labor (DOL), according to data shared by Cerulli Associates. There can be little doubt that annuity providers, many of them […]

    An insurance executive’s guide to navigating industry shifts

    {December 14th, 2016} by Doug French

    The coming year will be one of continued disruption for the US life-annuity insurance market. The industry will remain in flux thanks to ongoing trends, as well as new uncertainty. Customer demand will continue to evolve, digital technology will keep advancing and InsurTech innovations will gain further momentum. Today’s low interest rate environment and slow […]

    Have trouble comparing VA, FIA riders? Test drive this tool

    {December 13th, 2016} by Warren S. Hersch

    With so many annuities on the market, each offering a myriad of riders and moving parts, it can be difficult to compare products and riders. Product evaluation tools are available for this purpose, but demonstrating their economic benefit, notably in respect to variable or fixed indexed annuities, can be challenging.   Among the reasons…CLICK HERE […]

    A.M. Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Lincoln National Corporation and Its Key Subsidiaries

    {December 13th, 2016} by AM Best

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE OLDWICK – DECEMBER 13, 2016 A.M. Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of A+ (Superior) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings (Long-Term ICR) of “aa-” of The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company (LNL) and its wholly owned subsidiary, Lincoln Life & Annuity Company of New York (LLANY) (Syracuse, NY), which […]

    Annuity Sales in Sharp Decline, Report Finds

    {December 13th, 2016} by Beacon Research

    Annuity sales in the third quarter of 2016 totaled $51.3 billion, an 8.2 percent decline from sales of $55.9 billion during the second quarter of 2016, according to data reported by Beacon Research and Morningstar. The sales figures represented a 12.3 percent decline from $58.5 billion in the third quarter of 2015. Click HERE to view the […]

    Trump said to pick DOL head: Andrew Puzder

    {December 13th, 2016} by Nick Thornton

    President-elect Donald Trump is expected to name Andrew Puzder as Labor Secretary today, according to CNBC. A former attorney, Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which owns several nationwide fast food chains. Puzder has been an outspoken critic of what he says is overregulation’s crushing impact on the restaurant industry and the overall economy. […]

    Athene to Deepen Bank, B/D Relationships

    {December 13th, 2016} by Cyril Tuohy

    Athene USA, a major seller of fixed annuities in the U.S., will seek to expand retail annuity distribution through banks and broker-dealers, CEO Grant Kvalheim said Friday. The company, based in West Des Moines, Iowa, is a subsidiary of Athene Holding, which raised $1.1 billion in an initial public offering. Athene Holding shares began trading […]

    Michael Consedine to lead NAIC

    {December 13th, 2016} by Allison Bell

    The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has hired Michael Consedine, a former Pennsylvania insurance commissioner, to be its next chief executive officer. The Kansas City, Missouri-based insurance regulator group says Consedine will take over as CEO in early 2017. He will work in the NAIC’s Washington office. Consedine is on track to succeed Andy Beal, the […]

    N.Y. regulator issues suitability review reminder to life insurers, producers

    {December 13th, 2016} by IFAWebnews Staff

    GOVT PRESS RELEASE: The following content has been reprinted in whole or part from a government-supplied press release or statement. Financial Services Superintendent Maria T. Vullo announced that New York’s Department of Financial Services (DFS) has issued guidance to remind life insurers, producers and distributors of their obligations under New York Insurance Law and regulations […]

    Balance of productivity and Wink-awesomeness

    {December 13th, 2016} by Wink's RockStars

    Sheryl, Wink’s CEO and Tori, VP of Operations are the founding and guiding forces of Wink. To be the best of the best, we often find ourselves in uncharted waters; navigating the business requires the forecasting, inspiration, and commitment of Sheryl along with Tori’s communication and sharp thinking to clear the path to our success.  We […]

    U.S. Chamber ‘Already Working’ With Trump to Kill the Fiduciary Rule

    {December 13th, 2016} by Melanie Waddell

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is “already working” with Trump administration transition officials to “undo” the U.S. Labor Department’s fiduciary rule, Thomas Donohue, the president and chief executive of the business group, said Monday. In a blog post on Monday, Donohue said the Chamber is “urging immediate action to undo” the fiduciary rule, because “if enacted, it […]

    Athene USA parent company raises $1.1B in IPO

    {December 12th, 2016} by JOE GARDYASZ

    Shareholders of Athene Holding Ltd., the parent company of Athene USA, have raised $1.1 billion in their initial public offering of common stock, which began trading today on the New York Stock Exchange.   Athene’s class A common stock began trading this morning at $43.56 per share; the company had anticipated a price range of $38 […]

    Prudential to Suspend Sale of Insurance Policy Through Wells Fargo

    {December 12th, 2016} by LESLIE SCISM and EMILY GLAZER

    Prudential Financial Inc. on Monday said it would suspend distributing insurance policies through Wells Fargo & Co., following the sales practices scandal that hit the San Francisco bank. Prudential’s decision comes as Wells Fargo continues to deal with the fallout from the sales tactics scandal this fall. Federal regulators and the Los Angeles City Attorney’s […]

    Prudential Hit With Class Action Lawsuit in Wells Fargo Fallout

    {December 12th, 2016} by Tara Jeffries

    Prudential Financial Inc. is facing a class-action lawsuit in the latest legal action linking the insurer to Wells Fargo & Co.’s high-profile consumer fraud scandal. The lawsuit, filed Monday by a trio of law firms in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, says Prudential worked with Wells Fargo to sign up low-income customers for […]

    Today is the Day: BLOG

    {December 12th, 2016} by Nick Gerhart

    I wrote this and published this on another blog in May.  Some of you likely read it then, but I wanted to publish it here after a colleague encouraged me to do so.  Cheers to you all! Today is the Day So much is written about juggling professional life and family life that I quit […]

    Athene CEO: IPO timing couldn’t have been better

    {December 12th, 2016} by Kristen Beckman

    When annuity provider Athene Holdings launched its initial public offering last week, it was fulfilling a long-term mission. “We’ve always had this focus from the very beginning that we were going to be a public company,” said Grant Kvalheim, chief executive officer of Athene USA. “That helped us because it spoke to how we had […]

    Whistleblowers allege Prudential link to Wells Fargo fraud

    {December 12th, 2016} by STEVEN A. MEYEROWITZ, ESQ., DIRECTOR, FC&S LEGAL

    Three former supervisors in the corporate investigations division (“CID”) of the legal department of The Prudential Insurance Company of America have filed a lawsuit in a state court in New Jersey against Prudential along with Deborah Bello, the insurer’s chief regulatory officer, alleging that a life insurance program called “MyTerm,” created in 2014 by Prudential […]

    Allianz Life Named a 2017 Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality

    {December 8th, 2016} by Allianz

    Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life®) has received a perfect score of 100 percent on the 2017 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) administered by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation. Earning this score designates Allianz Life as a Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality according to the HRC. The CEI is a […]

    A.M. Best Briefing: Increased Market Volatility Drives Rating Outlook Negative for U.S. Life/Annuity Industry

    {December 8th, 2016} by Best's News

    Oldwick – A.M. Best has revised its outlook to negative from stable for the U.S. life/annuity (L/A) industry, citing increased volatility across economic and regulatory fronts, which includes continuing interest rate pressures. The Best’s Briefing, titled, “Increased Market Volatility Drives Rating Outlook Negative for U.S. Life/Annuity Industry,” states that L/A insurers have done a commendable job navigating the […]

    Betterment CEO to Trump: DOL fiduciary rule worth your time

    {December 7th, 2016} by Nick Thornton

      New York-based Betterment, the country’s largest independent robo–advisory that now oversees more than $6 billion in assets, placed full-page ads in Sunday’s New York Times and Monday’s Wall Street Journal imploring readers, investors, and President-elect Donald Trump to get behind the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule. The Time’s ad, featured in the paper’s business section, […]

    Insurance Commissioner Gerhart stepping down

    {December 7th, 2016} by Tony Leys

    Iowa’s outspoken insurance commissioner is stepping down. Nick Gerhart has resigned effective Dec. 23, the governor’s office announced Monday. Gerhart was appointed to the four-year post on Feb. 1, 2013. He said in an interview Monday that he decided not to seek another term. His wife, Jessica, is expecting their fourth child in early January, which […]

    18 reasons for making indexed UL part of your portfolio

    {December 7th, 2016} by GREGORY E. SCHWABE

    If your prospecting is mainly with the age 55-80 group, you know it’s not what it was even a few years ago. “Almost tapped out” is the way some advisors are describing it. If your practice is feeling that pain, there’s a way to reach a broader, motivated, and largely untapped audience—consumers age 36-55.  You can do it with indexed universal life’s (IUL). What grabs […]

    Accenture’s Life Insurance & Annuity Platform Receives Highest Product Scores for Three Use Cases in Gartner’s 2016 Critical Capabilities Report

    {December 7th, 2016} by Accenture

    NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Accenture (NYSE:ACN) has received the highest scores for three use cases in Gartner’s September 2016, Critical Capabilities for Life Insurance Policy Administration Systems, North America. Out of 15 vendor systems evaluated, the Accenture Life Insurance & Annuity Platform (ALIP) scored the highest in the New Product Development/Launch, New Application/Automated Underwriting and Reporting and […]

    When it comes to annuities, why words matter

    {December 7th, 2016} by N/A

    Annuities continue to be misunderstood, oversold, and actually needed by the demographic tidal wave of baby boomers wanting contractually guaranteed solutions. Using just the word “annuity” to describe a category of many unique products is a semantic travesty. The professor knows Bo Knows according to Nike. John Knows when it comes to annuities. I am […]

    Global Atlantic names new president for life insurance business

    {December 7th, 2016} by Business Record Staff

    Global Atlantic Financial Group Ltd. has hired Dave Wilken as president of its Des Moines-based life insurance subsidiary, which does business as Accordia Life and Annuity Co. Most recently, Wilken was president of Individual Life for Voya Financial, where he worked for more than 20 years in various leadership roles. Wilken succeeds Mike Miller, who […]

    Accelerating change through innovation

    {December 7th, 2016} by DOUG FRENCH, MICHAEL HUGHES, CHRISTOPHER RAHAM, VIKAS SHARAN

    With stagnant growth and lingering low interest rates, the life insurance industry faces a challenging future. Low engagement with current customers, limited penetration among currently underserved segments (including the middle market and millennials), outdated technology infrastructure and inefficient processes are among the many issues forcing life insurers to re-evaluate how, where and with whom they […]

    Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart announces resignation; Branstad names Doug Ommen Interim Insurance Commissioner

    {December 7th, 2016} by Office of the Governor of Iowa Terry Branstad

    Today, Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds applauded the work of Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart upon learning of his resignation effective Dec. 23, 2016.  Branstad also announced that he is appointing Deputy Commissioner Doug Ommen of Ankeny as Interim Insurance Commissioner.    “I want to thank Nick Gerhart for his service as Insurance […]

    NAFA seeks emergency injunction to stay DOL rule

    {December 7th, 2016} by Kristen Beckman

    The National Association for Fixed Annuities filed an emergency motion for an injunction pending appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The motion asks for a delay of 10 months at a minimum but says a two-year delay is warranted. The association is appealing an order and memorandum opinion of […]

    Gerhart to resign as insurance commissioner; Ommen will be interim

    {December 6th, 2016} by Business Record Staff

    Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart on Monday announced he will resign from that position, effective Dec. 23. Deputy Commissioner Doug Ommen will be the interim insurance commissioner.   Nick Gerhart “I’m honored to have had the chance to serve Iowans by leading the Iowa Insurance Division,” Gerhart said in a statement. “However both myself and […]

    A.M. Best Revises Outlooks to Stable for Security Benefit Life Insurance Company and First Security Benefit Life Insurance and Annuity Company of New York

    {December 6th, 2016} by Business Wire

    OLDWICK, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A.M. Best has revised the outlooks to stable from positive and affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of B++ (Good) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings of “bbb+” of Security Benefit Life Insurance Company (Topeka, KS) and its affiliate, First Security Benefit Life Insurance and Annuity Company of New York (New York, NY). The […]

    Time to revisit cash value life insurance

    {December 6th, 2016} by Brett W. Berg

    For many years, especially when the estate tax exemption was low, the focus of estate planning strategies with life insurance often shifted to how the minimum premium can be leveraged for maximum death benefit. With the 2016 estate tax exemption at $5.45M for individuals and $10.9M for married couples, and at $5.49M and $10.98M respectively […]

    Despite NAIC guideline, IUL insurance sales remain healthy

    {December 6th, 2016} by Warren S. Hersch

    Transamerica maintains its No. 1 ranking in indexed life insurance sales, with an 11.7 percent market share. Sales of indexed universal life insurance fell 5 percent in the third quarter of 2016 compared with the year-ago period. But indexed universal life insurance sales maintained an upward momentum amid industry concerns about a 2015 state-based regulatory […]

    Compliance expert answers 7 looming fiduciary rule questions

    {December 6th, 2016} by Warren S. Hersch

    With the April 10, 2017 deadline to meet impartial conduct standards of the Department of Labor’s conflict of interest (fiduciary) rule just 5 months away, industry stakeholders are ratcheting up their compliance efforts. For a high-level view of issues they can expect along the way, LifeHealthPro interviewed Ben Yahr, a senior manager of EY’s financial […]

    Call for nominations: 30 under 30

    {December 6th, 2016} by Kristen Beckman

    Do you know an outstanding individual working in the life or health insurance or retirement planning industry under the age of 30 years old? If so, LifeHealthPro.com wants to hear from you! In January, LifeHealthPro.com will feature its list of 30 outstanding individuals under the age of 30. We’re looking for millennials (or those younger […]

    Bottom Falls Out of Fixed Annuity Market in 3Q

    {December 6th, 2016} by Cyril Tuohy

    Third-quarter sales of traditional fixed annuities took a beating, dropping by as much as 59 percent to $1.2 billion from the year-ago period, according to data released last week. Retirement investors fled the fixed-annuity market in search of higher yields, said Sheryl J. Moore, president and CEO of Moore Market Intelligence and Wink Inc., publisher of […]

    Small Independent B/Ds Stand To Lose A Lot Under DOL Rule

    {December 6th, 2016} by Cyril Tuohy

    Small independent broker/dealers (IBDs) want nothing more than to see the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule repealed, and from their perspective, it’s not hard to see why. IBDs stand to lose an estimated $4 billion in revenue over the next four years because of the rule. That’s according to Peter Chiang, a principal at the […]

    Two questions help clients avoid annuity surrender charges

    {December 6th, 2016} by Chris Conklin

    There is no such thing as a perfect financial product. Every product has its strengths and weaknesses. That’s why there is such a great variety of products available, as providers put together offerings to appeal to clients with varying preferences.  A fixed annuity is a great option for a client who is looking for a […]

    A Look Behind 3Q Annuity Sales Numbers

    {December 6th, 2016} by Cyril Tuohy

    Investors prefer indexed annuity products over fixed annuities weighed down by low-interest rates. This was a major factor in third-quarter fixed indexed annuity (FIA) sales rising 3 percent to $14.3 billion compared to the year-ago period, according to new market data released Thursday. “Indexed annuities are on record pace for 2016,” said Sheryl J. Moore. […]

    Transamerica to lay off 120 in Cedar Rapids

    {December 6th, 2016} by Chelsea Keenan

    Transamerica announced Thursday that it will lay off about 120 of its 3,000 employees in its Cedar Rapids locations — part of the life insurance company’s “strategic plan to increase returns.” In addition to the Cedar Rapids cuts, the company plans to close its offices in Los Angeles and Folsom, Calif., and West Chester, Ohio, […]

    Insurance Industry News Roundup: Week of Dec. 5, 2016

    {December 5th, 2016} by LifeHealthPro Staff

    New York Life honors women’s history New York Life has announced a grant of $500,000 toward the creation of Central Park’s first statues of real women, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.  New York Life is the only corporate sponsor of The Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund.  These statues will […]

    Advisors Wary Of Fiduciary Rule’s Annuity Exemption

    {December 5th, 2016} by Juliette Fairley

    The Department of Labor is expected to make it easier for insurance agents to continue selling fixed-index annuities, but many financial advisors say allowing such an exemption defeats the purpose of the looming fiduciary rule. “It allows for what I believe is one of the biggest problems in the industry, which is people holding themselves […]

    Voya Financial Recognized as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” for 12th Consecutive Year

    {December 5th, 2016} by Voya Financial

    MONDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2016 NEW YORK, Dec. 5, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), announced today that it received a perfect score of 100 percent on the 2017 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) — a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) workplace […]

    The DOL fiduciary rule’s future remains murky

    {December 5th, 2016} by Melanie Waddell

    The head of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee recently told Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to halt implementing the Department of Labor’s “burdensome” fiduciary rule because it will likely be “undone” by the incoming Trump administration. In a Nov. 22 letter to Perez, Sen. Ron Johnson, R.-Wis., chairman of the committee, told Perez that like […]

    3Q Individual Life Premium Rises 2%, LIMRA Reports

    {December 5th, 2016} by LIMRA

    WINDSOR, Conn., Dec. 5, 2016—Third quarter individual new annualized premium rose two percent, compared with prior year, according to the LIMRA U.S. Retail Individual Life Insurance Sales Survey. In the first nine months of 2016, total new annualized premium increased two percent. “Whole life sales, which have experienced 10 consecutive years of positive growth, played […]

    BLS: Insurance Industry Lost 1,300 Jobs in November

    {December 3rd, 2016} by Frank Klimko

    WASHINGTON – The U.S. insurance industry lost 1,300 jobs in November, according to data released by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics on Dec. 2. The seasonally adjusted 0.05% decrease for October 2016 through November 2016 is a reversal for the industry, which had experienced 10 consecutive months of growth this year. Updated industry data […]

    Indexed annuity sales on track to reach $60 billion

    {December 2nd, 2016} by Kristen Beckman

    Indexed annuity sales are on track to reach $60 billion for 2016, despite an 8 percent decrease in sales to $14.3 billion in the third quarter, according to data from Wink Inc.’s sales and marketing report. Sales in the category were up 3 percent compared with last year, however. The report includes third-quarter results from […]

    NAFA’s Press Release Regarding the Motion Filing

    {December 2nd, 2016} by Annuity Outlook Staff

    NAFA’s Press Release Regarding the Motion Filing WASHINGTON D.C. (December 1, 2016) — On Nov. 29, 2016, NAFA filed an emergency motion for an injunction pending appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. That request is now pending before the circuit court. This comes on the heels of District […]

    FIA Leader Allianz Shuffles Top Execs

    {December 2nd, 2016} by Cyril Tuohy

    Mike Brandriet, a nine-year veteran of Allianz Life Financial Services, has been named president of the company and takes over from longtime leader Robert DeChellis, Allianz Life Insurance of North America announced. DeChellis, who has led Allianz Life Financial Services for more than 10 years, will head a new business unit “based on a strategy […]

    Non-GLB variable annuities appeal to buyers of all ages

    {December 2nd, 2016} by LIMRA

    Recent LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute studies show interesting differences in buyers of variable annuities with a guaranteed living benefit (GLB) rider than without the guaranteed living benefit. The average age of those who purchased a variable annuity contract without the guaranteed living benefit is five years younger than the average age of the buyers who choose to […]

    Fixed indexed annuities: Insurers playing ‘game of chicken’ as courts decide DOL rule’s fate

    {December 2nd, 2016} by Nick Thornton

    Insurance carriers that offer fixed indexed annuities (FIAs)remain tight-lipped as to how they intend to market the products after the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule is implemented, according to one annuity industry analyst. “This is the biggest game of chicken we are ever going to see in the insurance market,” said Sheryl Moore, president and […]

    Wink, Inc. Releases 3rd Quarter, 2016 Non-Variable Deferred Annuity Sales Results

    {December 1st, 2016} by Press Release

    — FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION — NEWS RELEASE   INDEXED ANNUITY SALES ON TRACK FOR $60 BILLION YEAR Wink, Inc. Releases 3rd Quarter, 2016 Non-Variable Deferred Annuity Sales Results Pleasant Hill, Iowa. December 1st, 2016– Wink’s Sales & Market Report, the insurance industry’s #1 resource for indexed annuity and indexed life sales data since 1997, has entered […]

    THIRD QUARTER 2016 NON-VARIABLE DEFERRED ANNUITY SALES

    {December 1st, 2016} by Sheryl J. Moore

    Indexed Annuity Wink’s Sales & Market Report, 3rd Quarter 2016 shows sales for the third quarter of 2016 were $14,305 million, compared with sales of $13,860 million for the third quarter of 2015. Third quarter indexed annuity sales were down nearly 8% when compared to the previous quarter, and up more than 3% when compared […]

    Ninth Circuit Court Rules Fixed Income Annuity Is Not Security Under Corporate Securities Law

    {December 1st, 2016} by The National Law Review

    Because annuity contracts involve the payment of money in the expectation of future payments, one might conclude that they are securities within the meaning of the California Corporate Securities Law of 1968. Evidently, that is what Mr. Abbit or at least his lawyer believed when they filed a class action lawsuit against an insurer alleging, among […]

    Mass. regulator charges adviser, LPL Financial for sales to retirees

    {December 1st, 2016} by Svea Herbst-Bayliss

    Massachusetts’ top financial regulator on Thursday charged a Boston-based investment adviser and his employer, LPL Financial LLC, with fraudulently selling annuities to retirees. Roger Zullo defrauded his clients, lied to his supervisors and fabricated client financial suitability profiles to enrich himself and his employer by selling identical, illiquid, and high-commission variable annuities, the state said […]

    National Underwriter’s 2016 Rogues Gallery

    {December 1st, 2016} by LifeHealthPro Editors

    Each year, the insurance industry finds itself up against one bastion of evil or another. Whether its strict regulations, bad seeds in the business or reputation damage, the sector is in a constant state of “fight to live.” And that it does. As your trusted source of news and analysis within the industry, it is […]

    Allianz Life Names Brandriet as New President of Allianz Life Financial Services LLC

    {December 1st, 2016} by Allianz Life

    MINNEAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life®) announced today that it has named Mike Brandriet as president of its wholly owned subsidiary, Allianz Life Financial Services LLC effective January 1, 2017. He will report to Allianz Life Chief Distribution Officer and Allianz Life Financial Services LLC CEO Tom Burns. Brandriet will be […]

    NAFA Files For Emergency Injunction Against DOL Rule

    {December 1st, 2016} by Steve Morelli

    The National Association for Fixed Annuities is asking an appellate court for an emergency injunction to suspend the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule after a lower court refused NAFA’s request for a preliminary injunction. The appeal filed Tuesday claims that NAFA members, which are marketing organizations and their advisors, will be “forced to accelerate irreversible, […]

    Are you missing benefits from a life insurance policy? Look here.

    {December 1st, 2016} by Audrey Dutton

    A new tool will help people claim benefits from the life insurance policies and annuities of dead loved ones. The Idaho Department of Insurance and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners announced the tool this week. The Life Insurance Policy Locator is meant to connect people with unclaimed benefits. There are $1 billion in unclaimed […]

    Annuities Group, Fearing ‘Chaos,’ Urges DC Circuit to Freeze Fiduciary Rule

    {December 1st, 2016} by Mike Scarcella

    A financial industry trade association that lost its challenge to Obama administration regulations that confront conflicts of interest in the retirement advice market is renewing its push to stop the rules from taking effect next April. The National Association for Fixed Annuities on Tuesday urged a Washington federal appeals court to freeze the U.S. Labor […]

    Senator Tells DOL to Stop Implementing Fiduciary Rule as It Will Be ‘Undone’

    {December 1st, 2016} by ThinkAdvisor

    The head of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee recently told Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to halt implementing the Department of Labor’s “burdensome” fiduciary rule because it will likely be “undone” by the incoming Trump administration. In a Nov. 22 letter to Perez, Sen. Ron Johnson, R.-Wis., chairman of the committee, told Perez […]

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