Allianz Life joins Envestnet digital annuities marketplace

Insurer hopes Envestnet's technology will help reintroduce annuities to fee-based advisers

Aug 13, 2018 @ 2:07 pm

By Ryan W. Neal

Allianz Life Insurance Co. of North America is the second insurance carrier to join the Envestnet Insurance Exchange.

Allianz Life announced Monday that it will make its entire portfolio of annuities, including advisory- and commission-based products, available to the 88,000 advisers using Envestnet's platform. Allianz Life follows Global Atlantic Financial Group, which made its fixed-income annuities available on the Insurance Exchange in June.

In addition to the distribution potential of Envestnet's sizable user base, the partnership will help satisfy a growing demand among registered investment advisers for risk management products, said Corey Walther, senior vice president and head of relationship management at Allianz Life.

Younger and middle-aged investors are looking for long-term protection for when the bull market ends, and retiring baby boomers are looking for an answer to increasing longevity, Mr. Walther said.

"There's a lot of pressure on advisers, commissioned or fee-based, to deliver value," he said. "Offering asset allocation has been commoditized. Incorporating insurance solutions [can] enhance the value proposition."

The Envestnet platform also provides an opportunity to reintroduce advisers to a product that many left behind as when they transitioned away from commissions in favor of fee-based compensation. Mr. Walther acknowledged that insurance wasn't "designed in a way consistent with their new business model," and believes technology like Envestnet's will help show advisers where an annuity could benefit a client.

"A big inhibitor to sales growth in the past has been the lack of technology integration and a lack of fee-based products designed to match or align with [RIA's] business model," he said.

Advisers can use the insurance exchange to research an annuity and see how it would impact the overall portfolio, without having to load up an entirely new software and manually enter in client information. Allowing advisers to run some "what if" scenarios will educate them on how they can use annuities, even if they traditionally avoid them, Mr. Walther said.

"Actually seeing it all in harmony and working together really repositions the annuity in many cases," he said. "Advisers see all of the pieces together instead of being off to the side on its own."

Envestnet isn't the first partnership Allianz Life has established with a technology provider. The company joined forces with Orion Adviser Services to provide RIAs with timely access to data on Allianz annuities. Allianz Life also partnered with Vestwell on 401(k) distribution.

In addition to targeting RIAs, Allianz sees the Envestnet Insurance Exchange improving its existing relationships with advisers at banks and broker-dealers, especially those who have seen their annuity business decline in recent years, Mr. Walther said.

(More: SEC bars ex-LPL rep over variable annuity sales)

Envestnet did not respond to a request for a comment. The company announced the Insurance Exchange at its Advisor Summit in May.

Advisers need an insurance license to introduce insurance products to clients, but Envestnet will provide consulting and fiduciary services to unlicensed RIAs to let them use the exchange.

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