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States probe MetLife over payout practices

August 15, 2005

NEW YORK - MetLife Inc. has received subpoenas from the attorney general of Florida and the insurance commissioner of Oklahoma seeking documents detailing compensation for, respectively, "intermediaries" and "insurance producers." The New York-based...

Advice to advisers: Don't give away insurance business

August 8, 2005

NEW YORK - Fee-only financial advisers are leaving money on the table when they refer clients to agents instead of handling the business themselves, says the head of a life insurer specializing in no-load insurance products. No-load products...

Estate lawyers fear being cut out of will

August 8, 2005

CHICAGO - In the wake of the Terry Schiavo right-to-die case, Congress has been considering ways to promote living wills to the general public. But some estate planning lawyers are concerned that proposed legislation would sideline them in the...

Only 20% of pre-retirees understand LTC

August 8, 2005

NEW YORK - Long-term-care costs continue to threaten retirees' assets and lifestyles, yet few retirees understand how LTC insurance works, according to research released last month. A financial adviser specializing in long-term-care insurance...

Experts debate if B of A deal's 1-shot or trend

July 25, 2005

NEW YORK - Experts are debating the repercussions of the settlement between Bank of America Corp. and Massachusetts regulators. The settlement requires the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank to offer refunds to clients age 78 and older who purchased...

Banks' domination of HSA biz seen likely to continue

July 25, 2005

NEW YORK - Asset management business for health savings accounts will continue to gravitate toward banks rather than other types of asset managers because banks excel at servicing large numbers of relatively small accounts, according to a new...

Closed-end-fund IPOs: Is the door shutting?

July 25, 2005

IRVINE, Calif. - The issuance of new closed-end funds has begun to slow amid concerns about slackening performance, market saturation and possible regulatory attention. Over the first six months of the year, brokerage firms raised $14 billion...

Insurers seek patents for their new products

July 18, 2005

NEW YORK - Insurers increasingly are seeking patent protection for their new variable annuity, life insurance, long-term-care and other products to protect innovative features that competitors have been copying, say industry observers. The patents...

Push for federal insurance charter worries states

July 18, 2005

WASHINGTON - State insurance legislators are becoming increasingly concerned that the Senate might soon start looking at legislation that would allow insurers to be regulated by the federal government instead of states. At the summer meeting...

Study questions late-age mortality rates

July 18, 2005

NEW YORK - While noting that the overall mortality rate in this country generally is declining, a recent study has challenged findings from other reports and insurer mortality tables that show that medical advances and better living conditions...

Lincoln service cutbacks irk reps

July 18, 2005

NEW YORK - Continuing its makeover, Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. of Fort Wayne, Ind., last month cut into its senior- and mid-level management at its 37 regional offices. Sources inside and outside the company said the layoffs, which were...

States step up role in policing VA sales abuses

July 11, 2005

NEW YORK - Many of the same attorneys general who were instrumental in ferreting out contingent-commission abuses by property-casualty insurers - as well as market timing permitted by life insurers writing variable annuities - have set their...

States aim to strengthen annuity suitability standards

July 11, 2005

WASHINGTON - States are beginning to take steps to tighten suitability standards for variable-product sales. The California Assembly is considering a bill approved by the state Senate that would give John Garamendi, the state's insurance commissioner,...

NASD forges ahead in bid to regulate indexed annuities

July 11, 2005

NEW YORK - NASD has begun a significant push to regulate broker-dealers' sales of insurance-oriented financial services products though the Securities and Exchange Commission has not yet approved specific new or amended rules giving it the power...

Earnhardt case puts spotlight on life insurance physicals

June 27, 2005

NEW YORK - Promptly taking physical exams and complying with life insurers' other application requirements are key to avoiding coverage disputes similar to the one involving the late race-car driver Dale Earnhardt, industry experts say. That...

Banks, brokers slow to embrace indexed annuities

June 27, 2005

NEW YORK - Banks are reluctant to sell indexed annuities, because of their complexity and uncertain regulatory future, observers say, and the wirehouses and broker-dealers spurn them because they don't want competition for the variable annuities...

Despite scandals, investors eye insurance stocks

June 20, 2005

NEW YORK - Improving financial fundamentals are drawing investors back into the insurance sector, even with the continuing investigations by federal and state regulators, according to industry observers. Life insurance stocks look particularly...

Cutting fees becomes VA insurers' mantra

June 20, 2005

NEW YORK - Facing declining sales and tougher competition, variable annuity insurers are focusing on reducing their fees, according to industry observers. The fee cuts cover the insurers' mortality and expense risk, including commissions if...

Life settlements industry blasts MassMutual-sponsored study

June 13, 2005

NEW YORK - A recently released study that is highly critical of the life settlements industry is flawed because of its limited data and the vested interest of the insurer that paid for it, according to executives in the life settlements industry....

Equity-indexed annuities poised for growth

June 13, 2005

NEW YORK - Annuity payments that rise based on stock market performance are expected to become more popular, especially among retirees and those nearing retirement, as inflation makes a comeback, industry observers say. Equity-indexed annuities...

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