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Trade group accused of discrimination

March 13, 2006

NEW YORK - One of the premier life insurance trade associations has been accused of racial discrimination and of maintaining a "glass ceiling" that has prevented blacks from being hired or promoted into high-level positions. In a complaint filed...

Thrivent Financial to recruit 675 reps

March 13, 2006

NEW YORK - Thrivent Financial for Lutherans said this month that it wants to hire 675 new financial representatives by the end of the year to sell its insurance and investment products to its mostly Lutheran target market. The Minneapolis-based...

Health-care expenses in retirement surge

March 13, 2006

WASHINGTON - The cost of health care in retirement has jumped more than 5% over the past year, according to estimates announced last week by Fidelity Investments. A 65-year-old couple retiring today will need $200,000 to cover their health-care...

NASD renews alert on VA 1035 exchanges

March 13, 2006

NEW YORK - NASD has renewed its alert to investors about potential confusion regarding the exchanging of variable annuities, leaving some industry attorneys wondering whether guidance to broker-dealers could follow. "Investor alerts sometimes...

LTC age 55 requirement is bunk, experts say

March 13, 2006

NEW YORK - Advisers who recommend long-term-care insurance only to clients age 55 or older are dropping the ball, according to experts in the coverage line. A report released last month by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance...

Indies get inventive in helping reps push insurance products

March 6, 2006

NEW YORK - Independent-contractor broker-dealers are becoming ever more inventive in devising ways for registered representatives and advisers to sell insurance products, some of which securities regulators have pointed to as vulnerable to sales...

Medicaid eligibility tightening sparks debate over LTC

March 6, 2006

NEW YORK - Long-term-care insurance has emerged as a hot-button issue as financial planners and elder-care experts debate the ramifications of a new law that makes it harder to qualify for Medicaid-paid nursing home care. The recent Deficit...

Study riles advocates of equity index annuity

March 6, 2006

NEW YORK - Equity index annuities are either an effective savings vehicle or a scheme to dupe the elderly- depending on whether advisers believe the annuities' supporters or a recent report that blasts such investments. EIAs are high-commission,...

Pru, MetLife see service declines, index finds

February 27, 2006

NEW YORK - Life insurers provided slightly above average customer service in 2005 compared with other industries, but two insurers' service capabilities plunged against 2004's strong results. Customers of Prudential Financial Inc. and MetLife...

Investor-initiated life may be in jeopardy

February 27, 2006

NEW YORK - Several states are expected to follow New York's lead and ban investor-initiated life insurance. The policies - in which investors lend wealthy individuals money to pay life insurance premiums for a designated period - are scheduled...

LTC distribution model stunts growth of market, a study finds

February 13, 2006

NEW YORK - Concentration of long-term-care-insurance distribution in a relatively small number of independent firms is stunting the growth of the market, according to a recent report. But the large independent distributors counter that they...

Medicaid restrictions aim to prevent abuses

February 13, 2006

WASHINGTON - A little-noticed provision in the Deficit Reduction Act, signed by President Bush on Feb. 8, will prohibit people from getting Medicaid coverage if they give money away to qualify for the coverage within five years of incurring...

MetLife offloads VA guarantees risk to Societe Generale

February 6, 2006

NEW YORK - Reinsuring increasingly is being used to handle equity-related risks associated with the variable annuity guarantees that have flooded the market, but hedging remains the primary method of handling guarantee risk, industry observers...

Insurers' disability-outsourcing trend picks up steam

January 30, 2006

NEW YORK - Another large insurer has jettisoned its individual-disability products and services in favor of outsourced offerings. Allstate Corp. of Northbrook, Ill., will stop offering its homegrown individual-disability policies tomorrow. Its...

Insurers to build annuity distribution channels

January 30, 2006

NEW YORK - Insurers that offer variable and fixed annuities are developing new distribution channels for their products and strengthening existing channels. ING USA Annuity and Life Insurance Co. added 10 wholesalers to its financial-institutions...

Arguments to be heard in Chawla case

January 23, 2006

CHICAGO - Oral arguments in a key insurable-interest case are to be heard next week in federal appeals court in Baltimore. The case, Chawla v. Transamerica Occidental Life Insurance Co., involves the late Harald Giesinger, who set up a life...

Reps rap broker reins on equity index sales

January 23, 2006

NEW YORK - Some registered representatives are angry about broker-dealer restrictions - some of which went into effect Jan. 1 - that limit their outside business activities involving equity index annuities. Several broker-dealers, saying they...

NASD urges summit with states, industry on annuity regulations

January 23, 2006

WASHINGTON - NASD officials are setting their sights on fixed annuities, and they want a "summit" meeting with state insurance regulators, and insurance and securities industry officials, to discuss common sales-practice rules for all annuity...

Insurance stocks ready to shine, analysts say

January 16, 2006

NEW YORK - Last year's hurricanes, floods and scandals won't prevent insurers from having a record year in 2006, according to several industry analysts. Insurance stocks rose almost 16% last year, according to A.M. Best Co., an Oldwick, N.J.,...

Secondary market for annuities expands

January 16, 2006

NEW YORK - A secondary market for annuities similar to life insurance viatical contracts is becoming an increasingly viable option for advisers with clients who no longer want their annuities. "We estimate that 5% to 10% of annuities are in...

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