Industry Updates 

Important news and updates from insurance carriers, financial institutions, and solution providers for brokerage professionals and agencies.

Please send announcements, press releases, or noteworthy developments to Kelly Maheu ([email protected]) for review and consideration. 

 

NOVEMBER 2021

NAILBA celebrated the return to live shows with a rousing kickoff session Monday at NAILBA 40. Attendees were welcomed by CEO Dan LaBert, who said 750 signups were received. NAILBA planned for 500 during the spring, he said. LaBert touted the revival of the brokerage trade association, which scaled back its elaborate conferences in recent years. NAILBA's return to strength reflects an industry that is on the upswing, Labert added. READ MORE

New York Life announced that the company’s Board of Directors has named Craig DeSanto CEO-elect. Mr. DeSanto, who is currently the company’s president, will succeed Ted Mathas, who has served as CEO for nearly fourteen years. Mr. DeSanto will assume the chief executive position upon the retirement of Mr. Mathas on April 15, 2022. Mr. Mathas will remain chairman of the board in a non-executive capacity for a transition period. READ MORE

While variable universal life represents a small portion of the overall market, it is a slice that is growing bigger each quarter.VUL sales are being driven by very robust market conditions for the product, agreed a panel of industry executives at NAILBA's virtual annual meeting. READ MORE

OneAmerica has named Jeff Levin to be vice president of distribution at its Care Solutions unit. Levin now leads a team of divisional vice presidents, regional sales directors, and managers and oversees the account management team in the distribution, sale, and support of the company’s Care Solutions product line. Levin previously was a divisional vice president, responsible for expansion of Care Solutions products, including life and annuity asset-based long-term care products. READ MORE

Prolific best-selling author and business speaker Ross Bernstein is no stranger to NAILBA audiences. Bernstein's sports anecdotes range from legendary football coach Vince Lombardi to Olympic champion skier Lindsey Vonn. Best-selling author of nearly 50 sports books, Bernstein is an award-winning peak-performance business speaker who's keynoted conferences on all seven continents. READ MORE

Integrity Marketing Group, LLC ("Integrity") announced it has acquired Brokers Clearing House, a leading brokerage general agency (BGA) based in Des Moines, Iowa. As part of the acquisition, Debbie Hannam, President and Partner at Brokers Clearing House, and Dan Allison, Managing Partner at Brokers Clearing House, will become Managing Partners in Integrity. READ MORE

NAILBA-LIMRA Survey finds BGAs and IMOs Growing Producer Ranks, Selling More
Seventy-two percent of respondents said they expect an increase in 2021 sales over 2020, according to a joint study by NAILBA and LIMRA. LIMRA CEO Dave Levenson presented the results during NAILBA's virtual annual meeting. The survey of brokerage-general agencies and independent marketing organizations also found that 63% of the respondents that expect to increase sales say they expect to see at least a 10% rise in sales.  READ MORE

 

OCTOBER 2021 

Sales of U.S. individual annuities continued to increase in the third quarter, in spite of the effects of a major surge in COVID-19 cases. Total sales rose 12% between the third quarter of 2020 and the latest quarter, to $62 billion, according to the Secure Retirement Institute’s latest issuer survey data. Sales of individual fixed annuities fell 0.9% and sales of individual variable annuities grew 29%.  READ MORE

Integrity Marketing Group, LLC has acquired DuBose Senior Insurance Marketing, an independent marketing organization ("IMO") headquartered in Florence, South Carolina. As part of the acquisition, Charles B. "Bubba" DuBose, Jr., President of DuBose Senior Insurance Marketing, will become a Managing Partner in Integrity. READ MORE

Better branding could help the people now known as life insurance agents serve more clients, and it could also help keep Congress from finding ways to tax life insurance, according to Marc Cadin, Finseca’s CEO. Cadin talked about the link between branding and federal tax policy in a recent interview. READ MORE

iPipeline announced it has been selected as a winner of the 2021 Global InsurTech100 Award. A panel of industry analysts and experts, who reviewed companies’ applications and research on more than 1,400 InsurTech companies within FinTech Global’s database, selected 100 winners around the world. READ MORE

AIG has appointed Shane Fitzsimons as its chief financial officer, replacing Mark Lyons, as the insurer prepares for the separation of its life and retirement business. Fitzsimons was most recently serving as the insurer's chief administrative officer. Lyons will move into the newly created role of Global Chief Actuary and Head of Portfolio Management at AIG from January, after which Fitzsimons will take his place. READ MORE

Mutual of Omaha Joins Forces with The Dodo in “Saving the Wild”
“Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” has joined forces with The Dodo, the most-viewed and engaged with animal brand globally, to bring new awareness to endangered species’ struggle for survival on our changing planet. This partnership will create an all-new digital series entitled “Saving the Wild” to tell heartwarming stories that illustrate the many challenges animals face in the wildREAD MORE

Transamerica has appointed David Curry as Chief Distribution Officer for the company's Individual Solutions division, which provides insurance and investment solutions to customers throughout the U.S. Curry, who previously served as National Sales Director for Lincoln Financial Group, will head Transamerica's distribution teams for life insurance, annuities, and mutual funds, focusing on the company's growth strategies. READ MORE

iPipeline announced that Kimberly Beck has joined the firm as Vice President of Marketing. Beck has nearly 25 years of experience in financial services marketing, and in her new role will focus on strengthening growth marketing capabilities while leading all aspects of marketing, including digital, product, customer engagement, and corporate communications. READ MORE

Sammons Financial Group Names Jerry Blair to Lead Life Division

Sammons Financial Group announced it is naming Jerry Blair as the next president of Sammons Life Insurance Group. Blair will replace Steve Palmitier, current president and chief operating officer of Sammons Financial Group’s life business, who announced his plans to retire last June. Blair will lead the life business lines of member companies Midland National and North American. READ MORE

Mike DeKoning Joins Thrivent as Senior Vice President of Insurance Solutions

Thrivent, a Fortune 500 diversified financial services organization, announced that Mike DeKoning has joined the organization as senior vice president of Insurance Solutions. DeKoning will oversee Thrivent’s life, health, and annuity product lines while helping the organization develop innovative insurance solutions focused on providing industry-leading client advice and customer engagement. READ MORE

NAILBA, NAIFA, and other associations representing a cross-section of financial and business interests signed a joint trade letter to Congress expressing strong opposition to the proposed new tax information reporting regime as described by the Department of Treasury. READ MORE

Simplicity Group Welcomes Independent Planners Group as 30th Acquisition

The Simplicity Group announced the acquisition of Independent Planners Group, a Scottsdale, AZ-based independent insurance wholesaler. As part of the transaction, Simplicity welcomes Mike Kelley and Brian Kelley as partners in the organization. READ MORE

Wink, Inc. released the second quarter, 2021 life sales results in its 96th edition of Wink’s Sales & Market Report. Wink’s Sales & Market Report is the insurance industry’s #1 resource for life insurance sales data, since 1997. READ MORE

Crump Life Insurance Services announced that Michael Martini has been named president of Crump, effective Oct. 1, taking over the role from Rob Carney who was recently appointed Crump chief executive officer. Martini reports to Carney, who in addition to his Crump CEO role, also was recently named CEO, CRC Group–Life, Retirement, and Benefits Solutions Division. READ MORE

Bestow, the leading digital life insurance platform, today announces its inclusion on CB Insights' Fintech 250 for the second year in a row. The FinTech 250 is a prestigious list of emerging private companies working on groundbreaking financial technologyREAD MORE

Royal Neighbors Grants $100,000 Nationwide to Empower Women
Royal Neighbors of America, one of the largest and first women-led insurance organizations in the U.S., located in Rock Island, Ill., has awarded 10 Nation of Neighbors empowerment awards to 10 women who are making a difference in the lives of women and/or girls. READ MORE

Jackson National Enters The Registered Index-Linked Annuity Market

Jackson National Life Insurance Company, the main operating subsidiary of Jackson Financial Inc., today announced the launch of Jackson Market Link Pro and Jackson Market Link Pro Advisory, two new registered index-linked annuities (RILAs).JMLP (commission-based) and JMLPA (fee-based) offer consumers the opportunity to grow assets before and during retirement while offering different degrees of protection against unexpected market events. READ MORE

New York Life Expands Services to Provide Disability Insurance

New York Life's new product, MyIncome Protector, is the first offering in a suite of solutions designed to replace a portion of income in the event a policyholder becomes disabled. The new product will replace between 50% and 70% of a covered individual’s income.  READ MORE

Breeze, an insurtech focused on disability insurance, has launched the Breeze Agent Portal that streamlines how agents sell disability insurance and critical illness insurance to consumers. The Breeze Agent Portal allows agents to quote, apply for, and possibly even instantly bind disability and critical illness insurance policies for clients. READ MORE

Senior Market Sales Acquires Medicare Instructors as Part of New Growth Strategy

Senior Market Sales (SMS), one of the industry’s premier insurance marketing organizations, has acquired Medicare Instructors, a rapidly growing independent insurance brokerage focusing on Medicare insurance and financial solutions for people entering retirement. READ MORE

Ohio National Announces New Pricing For Term Life

Ohio National announced new pricing for its term life insurance, resulting in lower premiums across the product range. Repricing follows extensive pricing analysis aimed at enhancing the value of Ohio National term life products. READ MORE

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) released the second volume of the 34th edition of the Insurance Department Resources Report (IDRR). The report includes premium volume by type and state and demonstrates a healthy state-based insurance market for 2020. READ MORE

The Allstate Corp. moved closer to its complete exit from the life insurance and annuity business with the closing of the sale of its Allstate Life Insurance Company of New York to Wilton Re for approximately $400 million. READ MORE

September 2021 

Total U.S. annuity sales soared in the second quarter to a record $68.2 billion, a 40% increase from last year, according to the Secure Retirement Institute’s U.S. individual annuity sales survey. Total annuity sales in the first half of 2021 increased 23% from the previous year to $129.2 billion. READ MORE

In its 2021 Insurance M&A Outlook, Deloitte noted that the number of insurance deals for 2021 to date is up by 18%, aggregate deal value is about four times higher than in 2020, life and annuity activity is up from five to 17 deals, and broker transactions remain strong. READ MORE

SBLI announced a distribution partnership with Plum Life, a life insurance technology company that offers an agent-only digital experience designed to simplify the entire process of selling life insurance, from quoting to application to issue. READ MORE

Pacific Life Insurance Company is adjusting rates for PL Promise Term, a product specifically designed to serve the death benefit protection needs of the broad market consumer (household incomes of $50K to $250K). READ MORE

Allianz is in the process of offloading a large chunk of its U.S. life insurance policies, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The insurer, one of the world's biggest money managers, is reportedly working with advisers on a possible reinsurance deal for a portfolio worth tens of billions of dollars in assets and liabilities. READ MORE

Delaying DOL Fiduciary Rule Would Give Small RIAs Time to Comply

NAILBA, NAIFA, FINSECA, and seven other financial trade associations wrote to the DOL requesting more time to prepare for the agency's fiduciary rule for retirement accounts. The rule is scheduled to go into force on December 20. READ MORE

CNO Financial Group and OneAmerica® today announced a joint collaboration with The Actuarial Foundation to bring the national Math Motivators program to the Indianapolis-area schools. Math Motivators is a national program that cultivates better math understanding skills for local middle and high school students at qualifying schools. READ MORE

The head of a major annuity issuer says the nature of life and annuity distribution is changing because that’s what the customers want. Jasmine Jirele, CEO of Allianz Life of North America, touched on distribution earlier this week, during a session at KPMG’s 33rd annual insurance conference. READ MORE

As predicted by many analysts, insurance M&A activity has rebounded, and there has been a high number of transactions and high aggregate transaction values across the industry during the first half of 2021. Consolidation in the brokerage industry--along with three other key factors--is driving this high level of M&A activity. READ MORE

Dan Fortin, Chairman of Foresters Financial, announced  Foresters Financial President and Chief Executive Officer James Boyle's intention to retire in February 2022. Louis Gagnon, currently Chief Operating Officer, will succeed Mr. Boyle as President and Chief Executive Officer on January 1, 2022, and will join the board upon Mr. Boyle’s retirement. READ MORE

Lincoln to Reinsure $9.4B in UL and Executive Benefits Policies

Lincoln Financial announced that it has arranged to have Security Life of Denver — an arm of Resolution Life Group Holdings — reinsure a block of in-force universal life insurance and executive benefits insurance policies backed by $9.4 billion in reserves. READ MORE

Issuers of individual life insurance received 5.5% more applications this past August than in August 2020, according to MIB Group. The insurer-owned, Massachusetts-based group says increases in application activity ranged from 0.6%, for consumers ages 0 to 30, to 9%, for consumers ages 71 and older. READ MORE

Prudential Financial, Inc. and Fortitude Group Holdings, LLC, the parent company of Bermuda’s largest multi-line reinsurer (“Fortitude Re”), announced that they have entered into an agreement under which Prudential will sell a portion of its in-force legacy variable annuity block to Fortitude Re, for a total transaction value of $2.2 billion. READ MORE

Integrity Marketing Group Announces Acquisition of Aegis Financial

Integrity Marketing Group, LLC ("Integrity"), the nation's largest independent distributor of life and health insurance products, announced it has acquired Aegis Financial, a leading financial marketing organization based in Denver, Colorado. As part of the acquisition, Darin W. Lucas, President of Aegis Financial, and Carl Muehlemeyer, Chief Operations Officer of Aegis Financial, will become Managing Partners in Integrity. READ MORE

Bestow Completes Acquisition of Centurion Life Insurance Company

Bestow announced the successful acquisition of Centurion Life Insurance Company, an insurer with licenses in 47 states and the District of Columbia.  As the first full-stack life insurance carrier, Bestow will launch a suite of new financial protection products on its platform. READ MORE

Transamerica Vice President and Managing Director of Wholesale Distribution, Victor Sanchez, shares the very personal story of how, by protecting families through his work with life insurance agents, he honors his late father's memory. READ MORE 

Simplicity Group announced the acquisition of Minneapolis-based Sawtooth Solutions, LLC, a leading provider of unified managed account investment solutions to independent wealth advisors. Sawtooth provides access to hundreds of leading third-party asset managers, equipping advisors with model investment portfolios for all ranges of wealth, from the mass-affluent to the high net-worth.  READ MORE

Jackson Financial Inc., a leader in the U.S. individual variable annuity market, announced that it has completed the process of separating from its former parent, Prudential PLC of London, through a demerger. The deal has been in the works since March 2020. READ MORE

SBLI, Afficiency Inc., and Quility Insurance announced a strategic collaboration and the release of a new simplified issue term life insurance product that allows consumers to easily purchase life insurance online. READ MORE

Protective Life Corp. — a U.S. arm of Dai-ichi Life Holdings of Japan — has updated its logo. The insurer’s new logo features a stylized image of two figures hugging each other next to the Protective name. The new brand identity is designed to drive further growth by helping the company better connect with employees, customers, partners, and the community through a people-centric lens. READ MORE

In the first six months of 2021, the total number of policies sold increased 8%, compared with prior-year results. This is the highest policy sales growth recorded since 1983, according to LIMRA’s Second Quarter U.S. Individual Life Insurance Sales Survey. READ MORE

Every client’s situation is different, and advisors and agents have the responsibility of choosing the right type of life insurance for each client. Add to that complex tax rules and even the most seasoned financial planners can be stumped. The experts behind Tax Facts explain top tax and financial planning questions agents and advisors should be aware of in regard to life insurance. READ MORE

Proformex and BKA Financial Enter Into Strategic Partnership

Proformex and BKA Financial have entered into a strategic partnership aimed at improving the life insurance ownership experience for clients. The companies aim to further redefine the industry standard for post-sale policy servicing by providing easier access to relevant data to empower better decisions and analysis to ensure clients receive the outcomes they expect. READ MORE

Sixty percent of Americans reported thinking differently about their financial future due to COVID-19, according to a new study from Lincoln Financial Group. Consumers ‘stressed’ and 'anxious' about financial planning ranked life insurance as one of the top three most important financial assets to continue funding. Nearly a quarter of millennials said the importance of funding life insurance has increased for them, the most among of any generation. READ MORE

Senior Market Sales® (SMS), one of the industry’s premier insurance marketing organizations, has acquired Thomas Insurance Group (TIG), an independent insurance brokerage firm owned by Charley Tinsley III. READ MORE

August 2021 

Lincoln Financial Group — a 116-year-old company with $380 billion in assets — has picked Ellen Cooper to succeed Dennis Glass as the president and CEO. Glass, who has been Lincoln’s CEO since 2007, plans to become the chairman in May 2022, following the company’s next annual meeting. READ MORE

OneAmerica reported that A.M. Best has affirmed the A+ (Superior) for insurance companies of OneAmerica, including American United Life Insurance Company® (AUL) and its affiliate, The State Life Insurance Company® (State Life). The ratings analyze the financial strength and performance of the companies and the ability to meet existing obligations. READ MORE
 
Integrity Expands Life Insurance Distribution with Acquisition of Twardowski Insurance Agency

Integrity Marketing Group, LLC, the nation's largest independent distributor of life and health insurance products, announced it has acquired Twardowski Insurance Agency, an independent marketing organization based in Denver, Colorado.  READ MORE

The court ruled that California’s life insurance policy termination law applies to all policies involved in policy termination processes starting on or after the statute’s Jan. 1, 2013, effective date — whether or not the policies were issued before the effective date. READ MORE

Legal & General America (LGA), a top-five U.S. life insurer, was Certified™ as a Great Place To Work ® for the sixth consecutive year for its employee-first focus, commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and leadership. Great Place To Work ® is the global authority on workplace culture, employee experience, and leadership behavior. READ MORE

Pacific Life Insurance Company announced that Darryl Button has been named CEO-Elect and will become president and CEO of Pacific Life, succeeding Chairman, President and CEO Jim Morris, on April 1, 2022, upon Mr. Morris’ retirement.  READ MORE

New York Life has started offering beneficiaries the Empathy app, from Empathy Project, a company that aims to support grieving families. The app can help guide families through steps such as account cancellations and submitting benefits claims, as well as help users locate and organize information and handle administrative and other tasks. READ MORE

Ash Brokerage, Ameritas and SCOR announced a new next-generation term life insurance product, Ash Instant term issued by Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. This innovative digital product is available to Ash advisors through the Ash Term Express platform.  READ MORE

AIG Life & Retirement announced that Bryan Pinsky has been named President, Individual Retirement and Tim Heslin has been named President, US Life Insurance. Pinsky and Heslin will continue to report to Todd Solash, Chief Executive of Individual Retirement and Life Insurance at AIG Life & Retirement. READ MORE

The COVID-19 pandemic was one of the biggest drivers – if not the biggest driver – of the insurance market in the last year and a half, according to a recent survey taken on behalf of the Million Dollar Round Table. The survey revealed that 42% of Americans who acquired new insurance policies since March 2020 said the COVID-19 pandemic was a factor in their decision, higher than all other options. READ MORE

Breeze Hires Insurance Industry Exec Andrew Hamill as Head of Distribution
Andrew Hamill has been hired as Head of Distribution by Omaha-based insurtech Breeze. Hamill spent the last five years leading brokerage distribution and strategy for Legal & General America. At Breeze, Hamill will scale Breeze's distribution by offering the insurtech's online platform to agents, brokerage general agencies (BGAs), and independent marketing organizations (IMOs). READ MORE

Insurance Technologies, LLC, a provider of sales and regulatory automation solutions for the life and annuities insurance industries, has partnered with RGAX LLC to integrate AURA NEXT with the FireLight® Sales Platform, delivering automated and accelerated underwriting upfront in the application process for life insurance sales. READ MORE

Since October 2020, when the original forecast was published, three COVID-19 vaccines were given emergency approval and distributed, two federal relief packages were passed and a last-minute change to life insurance tax law was implemented. These factors, coupled with stronger economic conditions and unprecedented consumer interest in life insurance, have led LIMRA to improve its 2021 sales forecast. READ MORE

LIBRA Insurance Partners, one of the nation's largest insurance marketing organizations, announced Rick Buteau as the organization's new Vice President of Operations. In his new role, Buteau will develop, negotiate and manage new business resources and processes for its LIBRA partner firms and carriers with an objective to improve the service experience for our partners and their advisors and agents. Buteau will also build upon relationships with key constituencies at the insurance carriers, LIBRA's brokerage general agencies and their external and internal staff, to build the differentiated service experience received by each of its partner firms. READ MORE

Royal Neighbors of America, Rock Island, Illinois, announced the launch of a new annuity product designed to protect the futures of certificate owners. The new Multi-Year Guaranteed Deferred Annuity (MYGA) product allows for one lump-sum premium. It will earn tax-deferred interest until maturity, which provides guaranteed growth. Royal Neighbors’ MYGA offers two guaranteed interest rate periods, each of the same length – 3, 5, or 10 years. After the second guaranteed interest rate period, the MYGA will not credit interest below the minimum guaranteed interest rate. READ MORE

Legacy Marketing Group Launches JourneyMark, First Joint Fixed Indexed Annuity With W&S Financial 
Legacy Marketing Group® (Legacy) today announced the launch of JourneyMarkSM, its first joint fixed indexed annuity with Western & Southern Financial Group (Western & Southern). Issued by Western & Southern member company Integrity Life Insurance Company (Integrity Life), an “A+ (Superior)” rated carrier* with a Comdex ranking of 96 out of 100,** JourneyMark offers a distinctive combination of growth potential, flexibility, and income features for consumers seeking innovative ways to address their retirement goals. READ MORE

Six Major Life Insurers Report Second Quarter Financials
A half-dozen life/annuity insurance companies—AIG, American Equity, Brighthouse Financial, Equitable, Lincoln Financial, MetLife released their second-quarter 2021 earnings reports this week. The reports reflect a variety of ongoing trends: Year-over-year increases in individual annuity sales, continuing stock repurchase plans, a shift toward higher-yielding investments in private or alternative assets, alliances with asset managers that source those investments, and new capital management strategies. READ MORE

Susan Keisler-Munro to Succeed Thomas Henning as Assurity President and CEO 
The Assurity Life Insurance Company is on track to get a new CEO for the first time in 26 years. The company’s board has picked Susan Keisler-Munro to succeed Thomas Henning as the company’s new president and CEO in January 2022. Henning, who has been the chairman, president and CEO of Assurity since 1990, when it was known as Woodmen Accident and Life, plans to serve as the chairman of Assurity’s board in 2022. READ MORE

SBLI Streamlines the Life Insurance Purchase Process with MIB’s Electronic Medical Data Service
SBLI (The Savings Bank Mutual Life Insurance Company of Massachusetts) recently selected MIB Group, Inc. as their primary electronic medical data vendor. SBLI made the selection following a pilot that involved a variety of strategies to streamline the underwriting process to enhance and expedite the experience for both customers and agents by leveraging electronic health record (EHR) data rather than traditional APS records. READ MORE

Protective Life Announces Lauren Drapeau as New National Sales Director of Annuity Advisory Solutions
Protective Life Corporation (Protective), a wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary of Dai-ichi Life Holdings, Inc., today announced the hiring of National Sales Director of Annuity Advisory Solutions, Lauren Drapeau. She will be responsible for leading efforts to deepen and enhance Protective’s Advisory business partnerships. READ MORE

2021 Media