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Few advisers have expertise in special-needs planning

April 18, 2005

CHICAGO - Parents of children with disabilities often don't know where to turn for their unique financial planning needs, according to the findings of a survey released last week by MetLife Inc.'s Division of Estate Planning for Special Kids....

Insurers rev up coverage for critical illness

April 11, 2005

NEW YORK - Insurers are introducing and enhancing critical-illness insurance products in light of the Terri Schiavo case. The purpose of the coverage is to add a layer of financial protection for people who fear that costs of a critical illness...

Banks' fees from funds, annuities stagnated

April 4, 2005

NEW YORK - Bank mutual fund and annuity fee income for 2004 either increased by 1.6% or decreased by 7%, depending on which report you read. The discrepancy is based mainly on differences regarding the number and type of banks and other financial...

Insurance probes cause more work, stress

April 4, 2005

NEW YORK - Now that a round of investigations has made selling insurance a potentially risky job, many agents and brokers are finding their days filled with more paperwork and stress, according to a recent survey. Clients are requesting more...

Life insurers said to face $200B reserve shortfall

March 28, 2005

NEW YORK - Life insurers will have to set aside an additional $200 billion in death-benefit reserves over the next 10 years to meet excessive and unnecessary regulatory requirements, a new report predicts. The higher reserves - mandated by state...

Ruling clouds status of insurance trusts

March 28, 2005

CHICAGO - A controversial court ruling last month that cast doubt on the use of life insurance trusts is already having a chilling effect on the widely used estate planning strategy. Worries over the decision effectively quashed a trust deal...

Northwestern sues ex-agent, seeking to blunt his attacks

March 28, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO - Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. is suing one of its former agents who runs a website that publishes content highly critical of the company's practices. The Milwaukee-based financial services giant is suing Policyowner...

NASD fines broker for market timing in variable-life policy

March 21, 2005

NEW YORK - In a first, NASD on Wednesday fined a broker-dealer for market timing in subaccounts of variable universal life insurance policies. The broker-dealer, Jefferson Pilot Variable Corp. of Concord, N.H., was fined $325,000 for failure...

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...

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...

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....

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....

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...

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