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Variable annuities continue to get no respect

June 5, 2006

NEW YORK - If an investment is known by the company it keeps, then the variable annuity needs to hang out with a different crowd. In an announcement last month by the Kentucky Office of Financial Institutions in Frankfort listing 13 common investment...

Rising interest rates steer some clients away from fixed annuities

June 5, 2006

NEW YORK - Steadily rising interest rates and a flattening yield curve are causing some types of fixed annuities to lose sales steam, according to industry observers. Meanwhile, certificates of deposit, universal life insurance and rate-sensitive...

Coughing up smoker's rates for children

May 30, 2006

NEW YORK - AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co. could face a class action involving more than 100,000 policyholders who may have bought insurance policies for children, including babies, at rates reserved for smokers. "Most logical-thinking Americans...

Consolidation, risk management key life insurer trends

May 22, 2006

NEW YORK - Mergers and acquisitions - as well as increased attention to enterprise risk management - will be among the key drivers of life insurer profitability and survival for the remainder of this year and beyond, according to research released...

Many boomers don't buy insurers' annuity pitches

May 22, 2006

NEW YORK - Annuity pitches that try to win baby boomers' retirement wallets with scare tactics will fail, some insurance marketing experts say. Boomers require a gentle touch; they don't respond to the painting of grim retirement pictures, said...

Some indies starting to add group benefits

May 22, 2006

NEW YORK - In a dramatic shift in the way independent-contractor broker-dealers treat their affiliated registered representatives, some leading firms are beginning to offer benefits such as health insurance. The firms making the moves, which...

Annuities lack uniform standards, NASD CEO says

May 15, 2006

WASHINGTON - Investors don't understand that they get different types of protection when buying various types of annuities, NASD chairman and chief executive Robert Glauber said at a recent annuity round-table discussion. Suitability standards,...

Exchange traded insurance funds may be the next big thing in VAs

May 15, 2006

NEW YORK - Exchange traded insurance funds may be available as a variable annuity subaccount investment option within six months, according to a firm that is seeking patent protection on the product. ETIFs are exchange traded funds that could...

CEO resignation won't hurt Conseco, analysts say

May 15, 2006

NEW YORK - The unexpected resignation of Conseco Inc.'s chief executive this month won't hurt the company, as long as its key financial ratings are maintained or upgraded, insurance industry analysts say. William Kirsch resigned as the Carmel,...

Regulator sees danger in annuity specialization

May 15, 2006

WASHINGTON - Some brokerage representatives are concentrating on selling one type of annuity and are making unsuitable sales as a result, according to the Alabama securities commissioner. Industry officials acknowledge that product specialization...

Employer financial offerings a mixed bag

May 8, 2006

NEW YORK - Some advisers see financial products and services provided to their clients by employers as inadequate and top-heavy with fees. Others, however, view them as useful adjuncts to the plans they devise. About two-fifths of employees...

Allianz rivals seek a level playing field

May 8, 2006

NEW YORK - Brokers and insurers that sell equity index annuities using independent marketing organizations are clamoring for a more equitable and inclusive marketing process. Allianz Life Insurance Co. of North America, which industry observers...

VA sales are up, but flows are down

May 1, 2006

NEW YORK - Variable annuities increasingly are being exchanged for other VAs with more and better guarantees, though less new money has been coming in. A significant amount of client assets that used to go into variable annuities instead is...

Hurricanes can boost stocks of P&C insurers

May 1, 2006

NEW YORK - Hurricane season starts June 1, but the best advice for worried clients who own substantial amounts of shares in property insurance companies is to stay put, industry observers say. "When storms start forming, people often sell their...

Insurers creating innovative annuities

April 24, 2006

CHICAGO - Insurance companies are developing annuity products that squeeze as much income as possible from retirement accounts. The biggest concern once retirees have accumulated wealth is making the assets last for as long as four decades,...

States assail bill to federalize insurance regulation

April 17, 2006

WASHINGTON - State insurance commissioners are denouncing legislation that would give life and property-casualty insurers the option of federal regulation, contending that the bill would dismantle the current system and allow insurance companies...

Disability insurance illiteracy spells trouble

April 10, 2006

NEW YORK - A lack of understanding as to the cost of disability insurance and what it covers is causing many people to avoid buying such policies, a recent study found. "The industry has become more complex than it needs to be," said Steve McConnell,...

Swaps into index annuities eyed

April 10, 2006

WASHINGTON - NASD is switching gears on variable annuities. Instead of taking action against broker-dealers who sell unsuitable variable annuities, the organization is conducting a series of "sweep" exams on brokers who recommend that clients...

HSAs are creating new bedfellows

April 10, 2006

NEW YORK - Health savings accounts are increasingly bringing together banks and broker-dealers that individually may lack the ability to both service the accounts and invest the assets. Health insurers and banks have been forging alliances since...

Advisers ramping up the use of P&C insurance in plans

April 3, 2006

NEW YORK - Financial advisers increasingly are incorporating property-casualty insurance into their planning practices, partly to compete with banks that already provide this service, according to industry observers. "A financial plan that doesn't...

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