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Archive for August 2013


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  • IRS Recognizes Legal Same-Sex Marriages

    {August 30th, 2013} by Targeted News Service

    WASHINGTON, Aug. 29 –The U.S. Department of the Treasury issued the following news release: The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today ruled that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. The ruling applies regardless of whether the […]

    New York Life Leads Million Dollar Round Table

    {August 30th, 2013} by Close Up Media

    New York Life has led the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) inthe United States for the 59th consecutive year, with 2,228 qualifying New York Life agents. According to a release, MDRT granted membership to only 10,329 agents in the entire United States, making membership in this organization a distinguishing life insurance career milestone for those […]

    How to leverage Life Insurance Awareness Month

    {August 30th, 2013} by Corey Dahl

    there were official rankings for public knowledge of all the themed calendar dates in a year, Life Insurance Awareness Month would probably fall somewhere between National Bath Safety Month (January, in case you were wondering) and Pet Peeve Week (October). This September marks the 10th anniversary of LIAM, yet, while the event is well known […]

    Zurich Insurance To Investigate Circumstances Of Suicide

    {August 30th, 2013} by JACK EWING

    FRANKFURT —Zurich Insurance said Friday that its board of directors would look into whether undue pressure was put on the company’s chief financial officer before he died in an apparent suicide, an event that led to the resignation of the Zurich chairman, Josef Ackermann, and shook Switzerland’s tidy financial capital. Top managers of Zurich Insurance […]

    For Hancock Advisors, New Name & New Model

    {August 29th, 2013} by Ann Marsh

    The country’s 20th-largest independent broker has a new name and a new pitch to independent advisors. John Hancock Financial Network has rebranded under the name Signator Investors, as a sign to advisors of its commitment to grow the advisory side of its business. “The change in the brand was really to support the advisors’ perception […]

    A.M. Best Downgrades Ratings of The Phoenix Companies, Inc. and Its Subsidiaries

    {August 29th, 2013} by Best's News Publications & Press Releases

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   OLDWICK, N.J., AUGUST    28, 2013 A.M. Best Co. has downgraded the financial strength ratings (FSR) to B (Fair) from B+ (Good) and issuer credit ratings (ICR) to “bb+” from “bbb-” of the subsidiaries of The Phoenix Companies, Inc. (Phoenix) [NYSE: PNX]. Concurrently, A.M. Best has downgraded the ICR and senior […]

    Fidelity & Guaranty Life Files for IPO of Up to $100 Million

    {August 29th, 2013} by Ben Fox Rubin

    Fidelity & Guaranty Life filed for an initial public offering for up to $100 million, which the company plans to use to pay a dividend to its owner and build up capital to support its growth. The company, currently owned by Harbinger Group Inc. (HRG), offers various types of fixed annuities and life insurance products […]

    Fidelity & Guaranty Life, a Unit of Private Equity Firm, Plans IPO of Up to $100 Million

    {August 29th, 2013} by Best's News Service

    BALTIMORE – Fidelity & Guaranty Life, a unit of private equity firm Harbinger Group Inc., has filed for an initial public offering of its common stock, with a proposed maximum total offering price of $100 million. In a Form 8-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Harbinger Group said its subsidiary, Fidelity & […]

    Harbinger files for $100M IPO of Fidelity & Guaranty Life

    {August 29th, 2013} by Elizabeth Festa and Maria Wood

    Fidelity & Guaranty Life, a leading provider of fixed indexed annuities (FIAs), is going public. Yesterday, its parent company, Harbinger Group Inc. (HGI), filed a prospectus for a $100 million IPO. Neither the share price nor the amount of stock to be sold were revealed in the SEC filing. Click here to read…

    Bernanke’s largest investment holdings are two annuities

    {August 29th, 2013} by Marcy Gordon

    One fixed, one variable WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen, a leading contender to replace Ben Bernanke as Fed chairman, holds a mix of big-company stocks and investment funds in a trust with her husband, fellow economist George Akerlof. They also share an interest in stamps. Yellen’s financial disclosure report for 2012, […]

    Modest Improvement In Earnings Outlook For U.S. Life Insurers

    {August 29th, 2013} by BUSINESS WIRE

    CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Earnings headwinds associated with low interest rates and equity market volatility moderated in the first half of 2013, contributing to a modest improvement in Fitch Rating’s base case 2013 earnings outlook for U.S. life insurers. The recent run-up in interest rates and equity market valuations, if sustained in the second half, would be primary […]

    International group blasts U.S. insurer regs

    {August 28th, 2013} by Arthur D. Postal and Elizabth D. Festa

    The U.S. insurance regulatory system is in a state of major disrepair, an international body that monitors and makes recommendations about the global financial system said today in a new report. The so-called “peer review” of the U.S. insurance regulatory system by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) said one option the country should strongly consider […]

    Highland Capital Brokerage Announces New Ownership

    {August 28th, 2013} by Ashley Cop, Media Relations

    Birmingham, AL: August 26, 2013 – Highland Capital Brokerage announced today that the company has been purchased from National Financial Partners (NFP) by its managing principals, selected SVPs, and independent producers. Highland was assisted in the transaction execution by Dowling Hales. “Our independence will allow us the opportunity to re-imagine our business with the technology, […]

    Retire early, live longer

    {August 27th, 2013} by Paula Aven Gladych

    Encouraging people to retire early can mean a longer life. A study by the Tinbergen Institute at VU University Amsterdam found that retiring early reduced a man’s risk of dying within five years by 42.3 percent. The study looked at a policy change that went into effect in the Netherlands in 2004, where certain age […]

    How technology is changing the way producers work

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

    Smartphones and tablets from technology behemoths like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung are transforming communication and information like never before. For life insurance and financial service professionals, the devices’ convenience, ease of use, technology capabilities and mind-boggling array of apps have been pivotal to realizing sales and efficiency targets, cutting overhead and enhancing advisor-client engagements. […]

    American Lives Underinsured By An Average Of $1.2 Million

    {August 27th, 2013} by Close-Up Media, Inc

    According to a new survey by Nationwide Financial, 98 percent of consumers who are married, partnered or have dependents, lack enough life insurance coverage to replace their income. According to a release, the average consumer surveyed will earn approximately$1.5 million before they retire and currently holds about$300,000 in life insurance coverage, leaving them about$1.2 million […]


    {August 27th, 2013} by Judy Thorpe, Director, Marketing Communications, Sammons Financial Group Member Companies

    WEST DES MOINES, IA – August 26, 2013 – Even with the challenge in today’s low interest rate environment and continued economic uncertainty, Midland National Life Insurance Company remains a strong performer. As evidenced by their ratings, Midland National’s S&P rating was recently affirmed as A+ (Strong), and retained its stable outlook as of July […]

    Social media as prospecting tool

    {August 27th, 2013} by Liz Skinner

    Potential clients are broadcasting “buy” signs through social media, and advisers need to find relevant signals through all the noise and deliver a message or experience. “It’s about listening and interacting with those in your network,” Clara Shih, co-founder of Hearsay Social, said at a LIMRA social-media conference in Boston today. “A lot of the […]

    Investors flee U.S. stocks at fastest pace since 2008

    {August 26th, 2013} by Jason Kephart

    Tapering talk, disbelief in rally leads big move out of equities Domestic stock funds last week suffered their worst week since before the financial crisis as investors’ fears over the Federal Reserve’s plan to cut its asset- purchasing program spread to stocks. More than $14 billion was pulled out of U.S. stock funds this week, […]

    Security Benefit Boosts RIA Channel With New Hires

    {August 26th, 2013} by Cyril Tuohy

    Security Benefit Life, which earlier this year announced record sales of fixed annuities, has hired three veteran executives to its registered investment advisor and broker-dealer sales distribution force. The new hires will help Security Benefit further expand its market share, said Mike Reidy, national sales manager. “With their combined experience, robust relationships and results-oriented mindset, […]

    IRS Approves Post-Death Annuity Exchange

    {August 26th, 2013} by Donald Jay Korn

    Clients who inherit an annuity may now have a few more options thanks to a recent private letter ruling from the IRS. Rather than being bound by the terms of the decedent’s contract, beneficiaries may be able to exchange inherited contracts for newer, higher paying contracts, according to PLR 201330016. Such an annuity might have […]

    Insurance Industry Corporate Governance Model Law Proposal Seeks to Avoid Duplication

    {August 26th, 2013} by Thomas Harman

    INDIANAPOLIS – Insurance industry representatives proposed a new corporate governance model law for consideration by a National Association of Insurance Commissioners panel designed to avoid duplication of filing information and streamline review for regulators. The proposal to the NAIC’s corporate governance working group came from various quarters of the industry, including the American Insurance Association, […]

    Battle Looming On Retirement Disclosure

    {August 26th, 2013} by Cyril Tuohy

    Obfuscation is opaque by design. Who knew that disclosure could be so complicated, too? With the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) considering new rules informing retirees of how long their assets will last them in retirement, now comes the issue of mandating exactly what lifetime retirement income to disclose, and how to disclose it. On […]

    Why Estate Planning And Life Insurance Still Matter

    {August 26th, 2013} by Jason R. Handal

    Estate planning is about more than just estate taxes. Estate plans involve a variety of non-estate tax issues, making thoughtful estate planning a critical component of a comprehensive financial plan.  This year’s American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) serves as an important reminder of that fact. ATRA set the federal estate exemption at $5 million per […]

    ING settles with 7 states on unclaimed property

    {August 26th, 2013} by Arthur D. Postal

    A comprehensive examination of ING’s unclaimed property practices conducted on behalf of seven states has uncovered no wrongdoing. But the Florida Department of Insurance later clarified that the regulatory settlement agreement was entered into prior to the conclusion of any examination. “Similar such agreements have been entered with other life and annuity insurers,” said Amy […]

    Popular Competitive Intelligence Firm Rebrands to Unify Life and Annuity Services

    {August 23rd, 2013} by InsuranceNewsNet

      A widely-recognized resource in the life insurance and annuity industries has recently rebranded in order to encompass the many products and services offered by the company. Wink, Inc. is now the competitive intelligence firm behind the #1 source for annuity and life insurance product information- the AnnuitySpecs and LifeSpecs tools. Wink is also distributing […]

    Life insurance’s global boom

    {August 22nd, 2013} by Katie Kuehner-Hebert

    As life insurers seek to find more buyers in the United States, sales in foreign markets are booming for some carriers, particularly in Asia as millions continue to transition into the middle class. Meanwhile, carriers are also courting specific markets within the United States, including Hispanics, gay couples, up-and-coming Gen Yers, and women — particularly […]

    Allianz Life Rolls Out Enhanced Index Allocations for Allianz Preferred Products [Professional Services Close – Up]

    {August 22nd, 2013} by Proquest LLC

    Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, a provider of fixed index annuities (FIAs), announced the launch of two enhanced index allocations offering additional choices for retirement accumulation. According to a release, available exclusively through the Allianz Preferred platform, the index allocations include the newly created Barclays US Dynamic Balance Index as well as the […]

    Lincoln Financial customizes annuity tool for LPL Financial

    {August 21st, 2013} by IFAwebnews Staff

    Lincoln Financial Distributors has created a customized version of its interactive Annuity Visualizer for client LPL Financial, a large independent broker-dealer. The Annuity Visualizer is a Web-based application designed to spotlight the benefits of annuities as part of a client’s overall retirement plan as well as the various rider options available. San Diego-based LPL, which […]

    AnnuitySpecs, LifeSpecs Rebranded As Wink

    {August 21st, 2013} by Wink, Inc.

    A widely-recognized resource in the life insurance and annuity industries has recently rebranded in order to encompass the many products and services offered by the company. Wink, Inc. is now the competitive intelligence firm behind the #1 source for annuity and life insurance product information- the AnnuitySpecs and LifeSpecs tools. Wink is also distributing Wink’s […]

    Second Quarter 2013 Indexed Insurance Sales

    {August 21st, 2013} by Sheryl J. Moore

    Indexed Annuity Wink’s Sales & Market Report, 2nd Quarter 2013 shows second quarter 2013 indexed annuity sales were $9203 million, compared with sales of $8762 million for the second quarter of 2012. Second quarter indexed annuity sales were up more than 17.00% when compared to the previous quarter, and up more than 5.50% when compared […]

    We are Wink!

    {August 21st, 2013} by Jamie Johnson

    We have rebranded to one name, one new dynamic website, same ownership, same people, great service, and unparalleled competitive intelligence tools- AnnuitySpecs and LifeSpecs. Wink, Inc. is now the competitive intelligence firm behind the AnnuitySpecs and LifeSpecs tools! Wink is also distributing Wink’s Sales & Market Report. The rebrand to Wink encompasses all of our […]

    Consumers clueless about life insurance value

    {August 20th, 2013} by Dan Cook

    Just about everyone who is part of some type of family unit is not, by life insurance industry standards, adequately protected by their current level of life insurance. In fact, on average, consumers are about $1.2 million short, according to Nationwide Financial. Given that life insurance has been sold for decades, this is a sobering […]

    Pushing the retirement age to 70?

    {August 19th, 2013} by Dan Berman

    Pick a number, any number. How about 67? Perhaps 68? Does 70 sound right? This isn’t some trick. This is all about figuring out what the official retirement age should be in present-day America. It’s a seemingly perennial parlor game that is now being played again amid a push by Republicans to reduce the deficit […]

    Annuity sales tick up in Q2

    {August 19th, 2013} by Maria Wood

    If just viewed on an immediate quarter-over-quarter basis, annuity sales are on an upswing. However, the results remain slightly below 2012 levels, according to LIMRA. In the second quarter, total annuity sales added up to $56.5 billion, 9 percent above the first quarter of this year, but 1 percent below the same quarter in 2012. […]

    SPARK pushes ‘state of celebration’ in determining benefits

    {August 19th, 2013} by Paula Aven Gladych

    The U.S. Supreme Court’s repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act has many plan sponsors worried about how to treat same-sex couples within retirement plans. That’s why the SPARK Institute has now asked the Department of Labor and the Department of Treasury for guidance about how plan sponsors should determine the status of same-sex couples. Some states […]

    Live to 120? No thanks

    {August 19th, 2013} by Brian Anderson

    Aging would get old, according to most Americans. A new Pew Research Center study found that 60 percent of Americans don’t want to live past 90, and perhaps more surprisingly, 30 percent don’t want to live past 80. Only 10 percent want to live past 100. Click here to read…

    Annuity rates are up. Are your sales?

    {August 19th, 2013} by Sheryl J. Moore

    Like the low rattle of a drum, the chorus, “annuity rates suck!” has been building to a crescendo over the past few years in this business. It seems that every agent I speak with blames the historical low interest rates for their declining sales of fixed and indexed annuities. Personally, I am in awe each […]

    Iowa OKs Athene buy of Aviva

    {August 19th, 2013} by Elizabeth Festa

    The $1.55 billion acquisition of Aviva USA Corp. and its subsidiaries, including Aviva Life and Annuity Co., by Athene Holding Ltd. got the green light from Iowa’s insurance regulators today. The aquisition is subject to tightened conditions and restrictions, including a review of all money exiting the annuity company, and a bolstering of reserve requirements. […]

    Iowa Awards Conditional Approval of Aviva Sale to Athene

    {August 19th, 2013} by Thomas Harman

    DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa Insurance Division has conditionally approved the purchase of Aviva Life and Annuity Co. and its subsidiaries by Apollo Global Management and its affiliate Athene Holding Ltd., paving the way for the deal to close later this year. U.K.-based Aviva plc in December agreed to sell Aviva USA Corp. to […]

    Quarterly IA Sales Hit Record $9B High

    {August 19th, 2013} by N/A

    WINDSOR, Conn., Aug. 19, 2013—Total annuity sales were $56.5 billion in the second quarter of 2013 — nine percent higher than the first quarter of 2013 but one percent below 2012 results, according to LIMRA’s second quarter 2013 U.S. Individual Annuities Sales survey, which represents data from 95 percent of the market. “This quarter’s results […]

    Allianz Life Launches Enhanced Index Allocations for Allianz PreferredSM Products

    {August 19th, 2013} by N/A

    MINNEAPOLIS — Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life), a leading provider of fixed index annuities (FIAs), today announced the launch of two enhanced index allocations offering additional choices for retirement accumulation. Available exclusively through the Allianz PreferredSM platform, the index allocations include the newly created Barclays US Dynamic Balance Index as well […]

    Apollo Global Management Agrees to New York State Policyholders Protections for Aviva Life Buy

    {August 19th, 2013} by Thomas Harman

    ALBANY, N.Y. – Apollo Global Management has agreed to New York’s new stringent policyholder protections as part of its affiliate Athene Holding Ltd.’s planned buy of Aviva Life and Annuity of New York. In December, the U.K.-based Aviva plc agreed to sell Iowa-based Aviva USA Corp. to Athene Holding for $1.8 billion (Best’s News Service, […]

    New York Life Adding Up To 300 Jobs In Tampa Over 3 Years

    {August 16th, 2013} by Jeff Harrington, Tampa Bay Times, St. Petersburg, Fla.

    Aug. 16–TAMPA — It’s a good thing Don Salama has a background — and continuing passion — as a race car driver and strategist. As head of the Tampa operation for New York Life, he’ll have to be nimble yet decisive steering the company through a new growth spurt that could lead to hundreds of […]

    Capital standards and now "critical" insurers, oh my!

    {August 16th, 2013} by Elizabeth Festa

    International standard-developing bodies have been turning a studied eye towards insurance regulator standards this summer, with the latest move coming from the G-20’s Financial Stability Board (FSB) involving standards for unwinding failing insurers. One insurance representative said these global agencies’ draft measures “calls into questions who will be regulating insurers in the future.” The FSB, […]

    Iowa gives nod to Aviva sale

    {August 15th, 2013} by N/A

    DES MOINES, Iowa —Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart approved the acquisition of Aviva Life and Annuity Company by Athene/Apollo Thursday. “We’re very pleased that we can expect to see this company continue its operations in Iowa under new ownership, while maintaining for the Division appropriate oversight of its activities going forward,” said Gerhart in a […]

    Group ignites debate on retirement plan benefits for same-sex couples

    {August 15th, 2013} by Darla Mercado

    Uncertainty over how to handle retirement plan benefits for employees in same-sex marriages continues to hang over the heads of plan sponsors and 401(k) service providers. The Spark Institute Inc., an advocacy group for record keepers, insurers and other plan service providers, sent a letter to officials of the Labor and Treasury departments today, requesting […]

    State insurance budgets tick up

    {August 15th, 2013} by Elizabeth Festa

    State insurance departments are showing overall growth in budget levels over the past few years, with some significant highs and lows, according to the just-released National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) statistical report. Overall, state budget levels for fiscal year 2014 are expected to rise by 0.04 percent from 2013 amounts, and to increase by 4.8 […]

    NY moves again on annuities

    {August 15th, 2013} by Arthur D. Postal

    A private equity firm that is acquiring Aviva’s annuity business has agreed to comply with heightened capital standards in connection with the acquisition. The acquisition is being made by Athene Holdings, which is controlled by private equity firm Apollo. The decision of Apollo Global Management LLC (Apollo) to accept the heightened consumer protection was announced by […]

    NAIC Releases 2012 Insurance Department Resources Report – Volume Two

    {August 15th, 2013} by National Association of Insurance Commissioners

    WASHINGTON, Aug. 13 — The National Association of Insurance Commissioners issued the following news release: The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) released the second volume of the 26th edition of the Insurance Department Resources Report (IDRR) to help state insurance departments assess their resources in comparison to other states. The report details how state […]

    Forethought named to Ward's Top 50

    {August 15th, 2013} by Michael K. Stanley

    Forethought Life Insurance Company has been named to Ward’s 2013 list of 50 top performing life and health insurers for the fourth year in a row. Ward Group, a Aon Hewitt company, provides information on benchmarking and best practices for insurers. Forethought Life Insurance Company, a subsidiary of Forethought Group, Inc., sells annuity and life insurance […]

    NAIC pushes to remove bias against foreign branches

    {August 15th, 2013} by Elizabeth Festa

    The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is advocating for more flexibility for its regulated U.S. insurers to operate both subsidiaries and branches in foreign countries without international supervision favoring the former over the latter. The NAIC is concerned, for example, that the international regulatory community has stated that the lack of a board of […]

    Clients Less Comfortable With Referrals Than Advisors Think

    {August 15th, 2013} by Cyril Tuohy

    Clients take an average of 4.8 years with a financial advisor before they feel comfortable recommending the advisor to someone else. This is more than twice as long as advisors seem to think it takes, according to new research by Prudential. Recommending a financial advisor also comes with a high degree of “social risk” for […]

    NAIFA Honors Gabe Smith As Young Advisor Of The Year

    {August 15th, 2013} by Cyril Tuohy

    Gabe Smith, a 38-year-old financial advisor with Ohio National Financial Services, has some advice for all the young advisors following in his footsteps: step up, get involved in any way you can, and don’t look back. Smith, recently named the 2013 Young Advisor Team (YAT) Leader of the Year by the National Association of Insurance […]

    Stock Carriers Seeking Whole Life Business

    {August 15th, 2013} by Linda Koco

    At least two stock carriers — Allstate and Phoenix Companies — have debuted whole life insurance policies in recent months. That’s surprising because whole life insurance is widely viewed as being in the province of mutual insurance companies. The permanent life product of choice for stock companies is universal life insurance, especially universal life with […]

    Income riders and parachutes: the three key questions advisors need to be able to answer

    {August 15th, 2013} by Shawn Moran

    So much of the innovation taking place in the annuity industry today is on the income side of the equation. With lower caps, the accumulation story is not a very compelling one; however, told properly, the income story is one that is both compelling and vital to our clients having confidence that their retirement money […]

    10 reasons for buying life insurance you should include in client conversations

    {August 14th, 2013} by Anna Giambattista

    By talking through each of these reasons with your clients and prospects, you can ignite a fire for taking action and purchasing life insurance policies. Let’s talk about discussing life insurance with your clients. It’s never a fun conversation to have. But when you sit down with a client and have their best interests in […]

    How Financial Advisors Can Add The Life Insurance Dimension

    {August 13th, 2013} by Kevin Kimbrough

    Many financial advisors are not consistently speaking to their clients about life insurance, and it’s easy to see why. The advisors may be uncomfortable addressing the subject, concerned that they don’t have enough knowledge of current products, strategies and practical elements like running illustrations and navigating the underwriting process. As a result, many advisors unconsciously […]

    Jackson Reports 2013 Results

    {August 13th, 2013} by N/A

    LANSING, Mich. .. August 12, 2013 .. Jackson National Life Insurance Company® (Jackson®) generated $924.6 million in IFRS pretax operating income during the first half of 2013, an increase of 29.8 percent over the first half of 2012, due primarily to higher fee income and higher life insurance profits due to the earnings contribution of […]

    Annuitant-driven vs. owner-driven annuity contracts: Which is best?

    {August 12th, 2013} by Lloyd Lofton

    Social Security worries are increasing, Medicare myths are multiplying and creative ways to help our clients navigate through their retirement and end-of-life years can be difficult if not challenging for advisors and our clients’ families. In previous articles we have discussed the senior market, dominant buying motives, reasons seniors buy and what the right annuity […]

    Warning: Why annuity agents will soon be extinct, Pt. 1

    {August 12th, 2013} by Joe Simonds

    I’m about to tell you a true story about an industry that went through the same changes that the annuity industry is going to face very soon. If you believe me, you could be well rewarded. On the other hand, if you don’t believe me, then I will make it worth your time to change […]

    Lincoln Chief Predicts Bull Market For Annuities

    {August 12th, 2013} by Cyril Tuohy

    Here come the good times for life and annuity insurers. After years of declining interest rates, market forces are moving into alignment with equities roaring ahead and interest rates rising. How long both variables will cooperate, well, that’s another question. For now, though, this is – or it’s about to be – the best of […]

    Insurance regulators scrutinize new owners

    {August 10th, 2013} by Victor Epstein

    Insurance regulators have launched an inquiry into the potential threat posed by the entry of hedge funds and private equity funds into their industry. The worry? The funds make riskier investments, which, if they go sour, could leave the troubled insurance companies they’re buying without enough money to pay benefits promised to policyholders, industry experts […]

    More IAs Feature ‘Enhanced’ Death Benefits

    {August 9th, 2013} by Linda Koco

    Enhanced death benefit features, once only in the domain of variable annuities, are spreading into the indexed annuity market. Twenty-one percent of indexed annuities now sport the features, said Sheryl Moore, president of Moore Market Intelligence, an indexed annuity resource in Des Moines, Iowa. Moore said that at least 60 policies out of the 282 […]

    Prudential Financial records $489M loss in Q2

    {August 9th, 2013} by Warren S. Hersch

    Prudential Financial Inc. posted losses for the second quarter and first half of 2013, the company disclosed in an earnings release today. For the three months ended June 30, Prudential’s financial services businesses recorded a loss of $489 million, a significant reversal from the $2.2 billion in net income the company enjoyed in the second […]

    U.K. regulatory agency to continue annuity market review

    {August 9th, 2013} by Maria Wood

    U.S. regulators aren’t the only ones with a keen eye on the annuity marketplace. The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) plans to continue its examination into whether British consumers are getting a fair deal when purchasing an annuity. Earlier this year, the FCA announced it was undertaking the review. Click here to read.

    Indexed UL is not a fad

    {August 8th, 2013} by MICHAEL STAEB

    Many advisors are under the mistaken impression that indexed universal life insurance (IUL) is a fad that eventually will founder and go the way of first-to-die and credit life insurance. What those individuals fail to consider is IUL’s flexibility. Like all universal life products, IUL has flexible premiums as well as death benefits that are […]

    Revisiting life insurance after the defeat of DOMA

    {August 8th, 2013} by Julius Giarmarco

    The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Windsor last month striking down certain provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act will give life insurance professionals both opportunities and challenges. The Supreme Court invalidated Section 3 of DOMA, which defined marriage for all federal law purposes as a legal union between a man and a woman. The […]

    Middle income boomers more prepared for death than life

    {August 8th, 2013} by Michael K. Stanley

    Middle income boomers are more prepared for death than they are for an extended life. A recent study by Banker Life and Casualty Company’s (Bankers Life) Center for a Secure Retirement found that middle income boomers are nearly five times more likely to have a comprehensive financial plan in place for their final expenses than […]

    Days late, dollars short: ELNY liquidation date set

    {August 8th, 2013} by Elizabeth Festa

    The regulatory saga of the Executive Life of New York (ELNY) is coming to an end of sorts, with the liquidation of the estate and the kick-off of the restructuring plan beginning Aug. 8, almost 22 years after it was seized — more than a day later and well more than a dollar short. ELNY’s […]

    Producer Apps Double Since 2011 Among Top 100 Life Insurers

    {August 8th, 2013} by Chris McMahon

    Celent reports that interest in mobile apps, especially those for tablets, is fueled by the desire to lower front-office costs and facilitate customer interactions. Among the top 100 life insurers, the number offering mobile applications to producers has doubled to 27 since 2011, according to “Mobile Technology For The Life Insurance Producer: Is Agent Mobile […]

    The Hartford books greater Q2 loss from life runoff operations

    {August 7th, 2013} by Chad Hemenway and Michael K. Stanley

    The Hartford says it recorded a second-quarter net loss of $190 million due to steps the insurer has taken in non-P&C operations. Hartford booked more than $540 million in losses related to the sell-off of its life operations, as well as capital losses from variable annuity (VA) hedging programs. The so-called Talcott resolution, which constitutes the […]

    Reforming annuities’ image problem: New focus on risk

    {August 7th, 2013} by William H. Byrnes, Esq., Robert Bloink, Esq.,

    Today’s media coverage of the variable annuity market has focused on company buybacks and modifications to existing clients’ product guarantees — a prospect that has many clients feeling more wary than ever about annuity purchases. Despite this, insurance companies have used the negative experiences of recent months as motivation to effect positive change in their […]

    Cyber-huddle:Treasury gathering insurance sector for briefing

    {August 7th, 2013} by Elizabeth Festa

    The Obama Administration has started to reach out to the insurance industry on the topic of cybersecurity in the wake of an executive order signed by President Obama in February. The U.S. Department of the Treasury will host a non-classified cybersecurity briefing for the insurance sector, inviting both industry and state regulators as well as […]

    ING 2Q Profit Dips On Hedging; Operations Improve

    {August 7th, 2013} by TOBY STERLING, AP Business Writer, Associated Press

    AMSTERDAM (AP) —ING Groep NV, the Dutch banking and insurance group, says net profit was 39 percent lower in the second quarter from the same period a year ago, on losses incurred on a U.S. retirement product and on discontinued operations, and because it booked large one-time gains in 2012 on its pension plans. However […]

    Advisors Lag In Social Media Adoption

    {August 7th, 2013} by Cyril Tuohy

    Financial advisors lag behind the general population in adopting social media for business purposes, despite there being no “overwhelming reason” preventing advisors from adopting the exploding channel, a new survey finds. Advisors say the biggest challenges preventing them from being more active on social media channels are: broker-dealer concerns (29 percent), coming up with frequent […]

    ING U.S. Research Highlights Securing Reliable Retirement Income

    {August 7th, 2013} by Mary Ann Tasoulas

    Research conducted by ING U.S. underscores the growing role that retirement income planning continues to play in the readiness levels of working Americans. The study, Retirement Income Redefined, highlights some potential discrepancies in retirement planning ideologies and practices, and reinforces how retirement is being fundamentally redefined. Among the results, key findings included the following: • […]

    Court shoots down $100 million refund for New York Life

    {August 6th, 2013} by Steven A. Meyerowitz

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has affirmed a district court’s decision that, with respect to two tax deductions claimed by New York Life, “all events” had not yet occurred to fix the insurer’s liability in the tax years in which it had taken the deductions. Because the insurer’s liability for the […]

    Survey highlights disconnect among married couples

    {August 6th, 2013} by Warren S. Hersch

    Married men and women disagree as to who is responsible for financial decisions in the household, according to a new study. BMO Private Bank, the brand name of BMO Harris Bank N.A., arrives at this conclusion in a survey conducted by Pollara. The research is based on an online poll of 748 married Americans. Click […]

    Nearly 4 in 10 Latino women take on insurance decisions

    {August 6th, 2013} by Warren S. Hersch

    Latino women control household spending for the lion’s share of the $1.2 trillion Hispanic market in the U.S., new research shows. The Nielsen Company, a unit of Nielsen Holdings N.V., unveils this finding in “Latina Power Shift.” The report explores changes among Latino women and their increasingly central role in the U.S. economy. Click here […]

    When advisors churn, clients burn

    {August 6th, 2013} by Steven McCarty

    Have you ever replaced your smartphone before you really needed to? Then you have fallen victim to the high-tech equivalent of churning. Churning, in this context, is perfectly legal, and brand marketers like Apple and Samsung depend on it. But churning exists in our industry, too. It occurs when an advisor sells consumers a product […]

    Study Shows Consumers Return To Independent Agents

    {August 6th, 2013} by Emily Trevallion

    WORCESTER, Mass., Aug. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ –Most customers who are lured away from independent agents by direct insurers promising lower prices will ultimately return to an independent agent, according to a recent study commissioned by The Hanover Insurance Group (NYSE: THG). The study found that nearly 60 percent of consumers who had purchased insurance through […]

    What does it mean to be a G-SII?

    {August 6th, 2013} by Elizabeth Festa

    MetLife and others in the U.S. insurance industry — even regulators — are trying to figure out what it means to be a globally systemically important insurer (G-SII.) On July 18, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) designated AIG and Prudential Financial as G-SIIs. MetLife was also designated. “Our understanding is that being named a G-SII has no legal […]

    A.M. Best Affirms Allianz Life’s Excellent Rating With Stable Outlook

    {August 6th, 2013} by Sara Thurin Rollin

    Strength in Annuity Market, Solid Capital Position Highlighted                     August 06, 2013 10:42 AM Eastern Daylight Time                     MINNEAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Minneapolis-based Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life®) announced that A.M. Best affirmed the company’s financial strength rating as A (Excellent) and assigned a stable outlook. This is  consistent with the ratings assigned in 2012. The […]

    Annuity income riders, new cars and the total benefits of ownership

    {August 6th, 2013} by Jason Kestler

    Let’s assume you are in the market for a new car, and you have narrowed it down to two choices. Both cost the same and come from well-respected manufacturers with great service plans. The red car comes with a shiny hood ornament and has great TV commercials. The blue car has no hood ornament but […]

    Allstate posts higher Q2 net income, revenue

    {August 6th, 2013} by AP Staff Writer

    NORTHBROOK, Ill. (AP) — Allstate Corp.’s profit grew in the second quarter, as the insurer benefited from higher revenue and capital gains, plus lower catastrophe-related losses. The company said Wednesday that net income rose 2.6 percent to $434 million, or 92 cents per share, in the three months ended June 30. That compares with net […]

    How do Financial Services Companies Plan to Use Social Networks in the Future?

    {August 6th, 2013} by Eric Crowley

    A recent LIMRA study looked at how financial services companies are currently using social media networks to increase their engagement with their sales forces and the public. But what are their plans for the future? The LIMRA report “Retweets, Likes and Shares: How Financial Services Companies are Using Social Networks” documented current strategies and results.  […]

    How to find the right social media solutions partner

    {August 6th, 2013} by Todd Grieder

    As the financial services community continues to implement social media, advisors across the country are seeking turnkey solutions to help them manage their social media efforts. These advisors are both uncertain about how to use social media and hesitant about the time it takes to maintain an online presence. As a result, a plethora of […]

    A.M. Best Affirms Ratings of Security Benefit Life Insurance Company and Its Affiliate

    {August 5th, 2013} by Best's News Service

    OLDWICK, N.J. – A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating of B++(Good) and 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 (Rye Brook, NY) (collectively known as Security Benefit Life). Both companies are the […]

    Axa Posts 16% Rise in First-Half Underlying Earnings

    {August 5th, 2013} by Robert O'Conner

    PARIS – Pointing to growth across all its businesses, multiline French-based insurer Axa SA reported a 16% increase in first half underlying earnings to 2.6 billion euros (US$3.45 billion). Total revenue rose 4% to 50 billion euros. Adjusted earnings increased 26% to 3 billion euros. Net income fell 1% to 2.5 billion euros. “It’s a […]

    Benmosche: We want to be in top quarter of insurance companies

    {August 5th, 2013} by Arthur D. Postal

    American International Group’s (AIG) goal is to have sustainable earnings growth equal to the top quarter of insurance companies going forward, president and CEO Robert Benmosche said late Thursday. He also said that he welcomed oversight of AIG by the Federal Reserve Board as a systemically important financial institution (SIFI), explaining that “…it’s just getting […]

    NAIC Panel to Start Work on Corporate Governance Model Law

    {August 5th, 2013} by Thomas Harman

    WASHINGTON – The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has given its approval for a working group to begin drafting a revised corporate governance model law that would have insurers provide annual corporate governance filings. Insurance industry officials are expected to have a draft proposal of its own ready for consideration soon. During a July 26 […]

    European Floods Didn't Dampen Allianz Second Quarter Net as It Rises 27%

    {August 5th, 2013} by Meg Green

    MUNICH – Allianz Group posted a 26.8% increase in second-quarter net income, despite paying 730 million euros ($968.6 million) to more than 50,000 policyholders impacted by Central European floods. Allianz said its net income rose to 1.6 billion euros and total revenue increased 6.3% to 26.8 billion euros. Property and casualty insurance revenue rose to […]

    MetLife (NYSE:MET) reported a 78% year-on-year decline in net income for the second quarter of 2013

    {August 5th, 2013} by Trefis Team

    MetLife (NYSE:MET) reported a 78% year-on-year decline in net income for the second quarter of 2013, primarily affected by a $1.1 billion after-tax net derivative loss that the company incurred due to the recent surge in interest rates as well as changes in foreign currencies, principally the weakening of the Yen compared to the U.S. […]


    {August 5th, 2013} by John Williams

    When selling fixed annuities in today’s low-interest-rate environment, it can be difficult to manage client expectations about comparably low returns. Managing expectations is a sales skill many advisors might not have needed much in the past. But, in today’s market, managing client expectations is a must. Having a conversation with a client in order to […]

    FBL Income Jumps 45% In 2Q As Distribution Reforms Take Hold

    {August 5th, 2013} by Cyril Tuohy

    FBL Financial Group, the Iowa-based farm bureau life insurer with an exclusive sales force, attributed its 45 percent increase in net income growth to reforms in its distribution system, the company said. FBL’s second quarter income of $29.6 million, or $1.13 per share diluted, was up 45 percent over $20.2 million, or 73 cents per […]

    S&P accused of inflating credit ratings

    {August 5th, 2013} by Staff Writer

    From Al Jazeera English Have we not learned anything five years on? Inflated credit ratings are back in the news and we are setting ourselves up for another disaster as Standard & Poor’s, looking to raise their market share, are “going easy” on flawed securities and misleading investors once again. Read the story.

    200 gather to remember teen who committed suicide

    {August 5th, 2013} by KCCI

    Mother pleads for end to bullying PLEASANT  HILL, Iowa —The week was tough for the community surrounding Southeast  Polk High School after 16-year-old AJ Betts took his own life. AJ’s mother, Sheryl Moore,  and several of his friends said he was teased and bullied for being gay, half  black and having a cleft lip. RELATED: […]

    Great American Life to Offer Income and Death Benefit Solutions with Innovative Annuities and Riders through Wells Fargo Advisors

    {August 5th, 2013} by BusinessWire

    Wells Fargo is expanding its annuity product line to include  fixed-indexed annuities and income and death benefit riders from Great  American Life Insurance Company®. The comprehensive lineup  gives advisors a variety of solutions to help meet their clients’ unique  needs. According to Malott Nyhart, Divisional President of Great American Life®,   the agreement opens up new […]

    Guggenheim Wins Approval on Sun Life Deal After Review

    {August 2nd, 2013} by Katia Dmitrieva, Noah Buhayar

    Guggenheim Partners LLC shareholders won approval for a deal to buy a U.S. annuities business from Sun Life Financial Inc. (SLF) after agreeing to policyholder protections sought by a New York regulator. The buyers will set up a trust account with $200 million to replenish capital at the New York unit if it falls below […]

    2Q Net Income Jumps 40 Percent At Protective Life

    {August 2nd, 2013} by Cyril Tuohy

    Protective Life announced that second quarter net income rose 40 percent to $103.2 million, or $1.27 per share diluted, from $76.2 million, or 91 cents a share diluted compared to the year-ago period. The variable annuities, stable value products and asset protection lines of business were the quarter’s profit engines, the company also said. Operating […]

    Genworth Financial Net Income Jumps 85%

    {August 2nd, 2013} by Cyril Tuohy

    Genworth Financial reported net income of $141 million, or 28 cents a diluted share, compared to $76 million, or 16 cents per diluted share, in the year-ago period due to a rebound in the housing market and price increases in the long-term care market. The quarter’s results also were helped by $6 million of income […]

    Interest Rates Are Up But Not In UL — Yet

    {August 2nd, 2013} by Linda Koco

    Interest rates may be rising, but life insurance agents shouldn’t be looking for any interest rate bump-up in universal life policies just yet. That’s the word from the gurus who are looking at the numbers. In a recent report, SNL Financial pointed out that “interest rates have been on a tear for the past two-and-a-half […]

    Why contingent beneficiaries shouldn't be an afterthought

    {August 2nd, 2013} by Tom Nawrocki

    One of the most crucial pieces of estate planning is designating the beneficiaries for trusts, life insurance and other accounts that would be passed along at the time of death. For most people, that’s pretty automatic: their spouse is their primary beneficiary and, perhaps, their children are co-beneficiaries. But the question of a contingent beneficiary — […]

    Zenith Marketing Group Promotes Michael Pinkans To Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer

    {August 1st, 2013} by Paul Seidel

    Michael Gorlick, CEO, President and co-founder of Zenith Marketing Group Inc., with offices in Freehold, NJ, Charlotte, NC, York, PA, and Wayne, PA announces the promotion of Michael Scott Pinkans to Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer.  Pinkans, who joined Zenith Marketing Group in July 2009, was previously Senior Vice President – Marketing.  In […]

    Annuities: Then and now

    {August 1st, 2013} by Richard Dobson, Jr.

    The history of annuities is one of growth and innovation. The original concept evolved from A.D. 222 when Roman scholar Ulpianis was credited with developing the first actuarial table. This progressed into individuals making large payments into an annua, (Latin for annual stipend) to receive annual payments till death or for a specified period. Roman […]

    AIG Posts Higher 2Q Profit; Declares Dividend

    {August 1st, 2013} by ALEX VEIGA, AP Business Writer Associated Press

    American International Group Inc. says its profit grew 17 percent in the second quarter as the insurer benefited from higher net premiums, prices and income from investments. The New York-based company also declared a10-cent quarterly dividend and announced board approval of a share buyback plan of up to $1 billion. AIG said Thursday that net […]

    S&P 500 cracks 1700 as stocks kick higher on upbeat economic data

    {August 1st, 2013} by JeeYeon Park

    Stocks kicked off the first trading day of August with a bang, as Wall Street cheered a round of upbeat economic data, propelling the S&P 500 above the 1,700 mark for the first time. Major averages also closed out their best July since 2010 on Wednesday. So far this year, the Dow and S&P 500 […]

    Our hearts go out to Sheryl and family in this difficult time of sorrow. [UPDATE]

    {August 1st, 2013} by Wink, Inc

    It is with deep personal regret that we write to inform of the unexpected death on Saturday of Sheryl Moore’s son, A.J., a treasured member of our Wink family. Sheryl will be unavailable during this difficult time; in the meantime please do contact the Wink, Inc office directly at support@annuityspecs.com or 515-262-2623. We will inform you […]