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Hartford investment gurus see continued growth

March 21, 2005

NEW YORK - Top executives of The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. and its investment subadviser see continued economic growth and a relatively healthy environment for stocks for the remainder of 2005, they said at an investment round table...

Walnut St. alters payout grid: 96% for $5M+ GDC offices

March 14, 2005

NEW YORK - Four weeks before MetLife Inc. said it was going to acquire Travelers Life and Annuity Co. from Citigroup Inc., MetLife's broker-dealer subsidiary, Walnut Street Securities Inc., rejiggered its payout in an effort to simplify and...

Bank VA sales close gap on fixed annuities

March 14, 2005

NEW YORK - Banks still sell more fixed than variable annuities, but the gap is shrinking, according to a report released this month by Jackson National Life Insurance Co. and Kenneth Kehrer Associates Inc. VA sales increased 14% in December...

Term-only insurance licensing plan blasted

March 14, 2005

NEW YORK - An adviser and agent trade group, as well as several regulators, are blasting proposed legislation that would create insurance licenses to sell only term insurance, saying they are opposed to diluting licensing requirements. So far,...

Insurers beefing up training on annuities

March 7, 2005

NEW YORK - Insurers selling annuities are ratcheting up their consumer education and adviser training to combat the lack of information - as well as the misinformation - about annuities and their benefits. "Many prospective clients either don't...

'Stable' outlook for life and health insurers

February 28, 2005

NEW YORK - The increasingly vibrant economy and rising equity markets have been kind to U.S. life and health insurers, and the industry should continue to enjoy a relatively stable business environment until at least mid-2006, according to a...

Life agents want death benefits in 403(b)s

February 28, 2005

WASHINGTON - Life insurance agents asked the Internal Revenue Service to make it clear that separate life insurance contracts used in 403(b) tax-sheltered annuities are allowed to provide incidental death benefits. Representatives of the life...

MetLife faces tough choice over Travelers unit

February 28, 2005

NEW YORK - Since MetLife Inc. pushed together two of its independent broker-dealers in 2003, consolidating Nathan & Lewis into Walnut Street Securities Inc., hundreds of affiliated brokers have cut their ties to the firm. The combined firm has...

Life insurance execs focus on challenges

February 21, 2005

NEW YORK - Building on last year's modest growth and pursuing optimal scale through consolidation will be at the forefront of life insurance company agendas, according to executives who participated in Atlanta-based LOMA's 2005 industry forecast....

Push to link Social Security to tax reform seen

February 21, 2005

WASHINGTON - A movement is afoot in Washington to try to tie Social Security reform to overall tax reform, and some financial planners agree that the two issues ought to be tackled together. Rep. Bill Thomas, R-Calif., chairman of the powerful...

Reform efforts could mean boost for proprietary funds

February 14, 2005

NEW YORK - Proprietary funds offered by brokerage houses, banks and other distributors could see something of a resurgence if 12(b)-1 fees or mutual fund revenue-sharing agreements are compromised as a result of the fund reforms being debated....

John Hancock unit aims to double sales force by 2010

February 14, 2005

NEW YORK - John Hancock Financial Network is embarking on an aggressive growth campaign intended to double its sales force to 3,000 advisers by the end of the decade. While Boston-based John Hancock's parent, Manulife Financial Corp. of Toronto,...

No-lapse guarantees seen threat to insurer solvency

February 14, 2005

NEW YORK - Insurers' goal of putting universal-life policyholders' minds at ease may have gone a little too far, raising a red flag at the New York State Insurance Department and among insurance industry analysts. The no-lapse guarantee in universal-life...

Higher reserves debated for universal life

February 14, 2005

WASHINGTON - State insurance regulators are debating whether to impose higher reserve requirements for universal-life policies with secondary guarantees. The life and health actuarial task force of the Kansas City, Mo.-based National Association...

Budget proposes small-business tax credits

February 14, 2005

WASHINGTON - Small businesses could get refundable tax credits for contributions to employee health savings accounts under the proposed fiscal 2006 budget released Feb. 7 by President Bush. That was one of the more surprising proposals in the...

A first: VAs with option for ETFs

February 14, 2005

NEW YORK - Integrity Life Insurance Co. of Louisville, Ky., is offering the first variable annuities that include the option of investing in exchange traded funds. Other variable annuity providers may follow suit. ETF-based variable annuities...

Employers fear medical-cost sharing might jeopardize employee health

February 14, 2005

NEW YORK - Medical-cost-sharing plans, such as high-deductible group health insurance coupled with health savings accounts, are causing some employers to question whether the cost benefits of the plans may be outweighed by deteriorating employee...

Breaking up may not be so hard to do after all

February 14, 2005

BOSTON - The future of Putnam Investments LLC may be in flux. Now that Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc., Putnam's insurance brokerage parent, has reached an $850 million settlement with New York Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer on charges of bid...

Spitzer comes on strong at Waterhouse conference

February 7, 2005

SAN DIEGO - Eliot L. Spitzer isn't going away, despite a growing chorus of business and government interests that wish he would. The New York attorney general thundered home this message to the hundreds of financial advisers and other attendees...

TIAA-CREF changes concern some advisers

February 7, 2005

NEW YORK - Changes at TIAA-CREF in New York are causing some observers to question the firm's commitment to financial advisers. Chief among those changes is the departure of Michael F. Lane in September. He had been the director of TIAA-CREF's...

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