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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...

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...

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,...

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...

Performance metrics for index annuities stir up a hornet's nest

March 27, 2006

NEW YORK - An annuity expert who thinks that analyzing equity index annuity performance is a science has calculated that many of the products of the industry's top company have performed dreadfully, but those who see more art in the process...

As life settlements gain acceptance, regulators rev up their scrutiny

March 27, 2006

NEW YORK - Just when many broker-dealers and advisers are starting to ramp up the use of life settlements and bring them into the financial planning mainstream, regulators are increasing their scrutiny. In a life settlement, a policyholder's...

Industry eyes hearing in key index annuity case

March 20, 2006

IRVINE, Calif. - A closely watched case involving the sale of equity index annuities by a brokerage firm is set to begin today with an administrative hearing in Boston. Charges filed against Investors Capital Corp. by Massachusetts securities...

Pru deal for Allstate's VA biz seen as a benefit to advisers

March 20, 2006

NEW YORK - Advisers who sell or recommend Allstate Financial Services LLC's variable annuities will benefit from Prudential Financial Inc.'s financial strength, scale and product mix, industry observers say. There will be no reduction in Allstate's...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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