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 Jordan Foster for review and consideration.

Archives:  2023   |   2022   |   2021

MAY 2023

What the Broker-Dealer Industry Looks Like Now, in 5 Charts
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has released its 2023 Industry Snapshot, the annual statistical report on the brokerage firms, registered representatives and market activity that FINRA oversees.

NAIFA to Move Headquarters
The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors announced earlier this week that it plans to move its headquarters to Arlington, Virginia, on June 1.  The 132-year-old group has been based in Falls Church, Virginia, since 2000.

Fortitude Re Announces $28 Billion Life & Annuity Reinsurance Agreement with Lincoln Financial Group
Upon receipt of regulatory approvals, Lincoln will reinsure a significant portion of its universal life insurance and fixed annuity business to Fortitude Re. Lincoln will continue to service and administer the reinsured policies.

The 1 key area where women have better financial literacy
A study by the insurance company TIAA found that on average, women have significantly better longevity literacy than men, meaning they more accurately estimate their own lifespans. Though this knowledge is not inherently financial in nature, it is crucial to retirement planning, which involves building an income to last the rest of one’s life.

RetireOne and Midland National Enhance the Constance Contingent Deferred Annuity
RetireOne®, the leading independent platform for fee-based insurance solutions, and Midland National Life Insurance Company (Midland National) today announced enhancements to the Constance contingent deferred annuity (CDA) designed to make the CDA easier to integrate into a financial advisor’s practice and more straightforward to communicate with clients.

Will AG 49-B be a May Day or meh day for IUL illustrations?
May Day has special significance for indexed universal life illustration rates as a new guideline goes into effect, which is expected to reduce illustrated rate and perhaps suppress sales.

Life Insurers Need Better Tools for Detecting Asset Risk: Alla Gil
Gil is the founder and CEO of Straterix, a Teaneck, New Jersey-based company that sells high-tech systems for generating a wide array of possible economic scenarios, including scenarios that go beyond executives’ worst nightmares, for use in stress testing.

CFP Board Launches An Endowed Scholarship For Women
The CFP Board’s Center for Financial Planning in Washington, D.C., has launched an endowed scholarship program for women aspiring to become CFPs.  The center launched its Women’s Initiative in 1993. In recognition of the program’s 10th anniversary, the center has announced the WIN Endowed Scholarship program to fund the education of a new generation of women aspiring to become CFP-certified.

HSBC launches AI-powered equity index with AWS
The HSBC AIGT Index was developed by the bank and utilises the AI from AWS to carry out an AI-based index investment process.  Furthermore, the solution gets AWS AI services to analyse and learn from data thousands of times faster than humans. This also enables the index to automatically adapt and evolve its approach as market dynamic shift.

Variable annuity sales on the ropes, but LIMRA forecasts mild rebound
Market volatility did not help variable annuity sales. Nor did COVID-19 or ramped-up regulatory activities. And the changing face of the advisor force wasn’t keen on VAs either.  Some of these variables will get better and some will get worse in the coming years. 

APRIL 2023

Generation 401(k): Why Gen Z workers are saving more for retirement
Over the past two decades, Americans of all ages have increased their participation in workplace retirement plans, according to a new study by the investment firm Vanguard. But Gen Z in particular stood out: In 2021, 62% of America’s youngest workers were actively saving in a 401(k) — more than twice the rate of the same age group in 2006, when only 30% participated. This was the highest increase of any generation.

Pacific Life Launches New Variable Universal Life Product for Wealth Transfer Market
Pacific Life has announced it has added a new protection-focused variable universal life insurance (VUL) product aimed at the $68 trillion wealth transfer market. Pacific Protector VUL2 is designed for cost-efficient guaranteed death benefit protection to help clients financially protect their loved ones and legacy, while also providing the potential to build cash value.

Federal Financial Watchdog Aims to Expand Its Reach
The Financial Stability Oversight Council — the federal agency in charge of keeping the U.S. financial system upright — wants to change a 2019 document that limits how it tries to keep problems at life insurers, money market funds, cryptocurrency firms and other nonbank financial companies from destroying the economy.

Millennials Ready To Listen To Advisors, Ameriprise Survey Says
Millennials present advisors with the perfect clients: They are entering their peak earning years and they are seeking financial help, according to Ameriprise Financial.  Millennials, those 27 to 42 years of age, are more aware of their need to budget and save for retirement than older generations were when they were the same age, and a majority are willing to listen to financial advisors, according to the Thought Leadership Study compiled by Ameriprise Financial that was released today.

SEC Issues New Reg BI Guidance
In its new guidance, released in Q&A form, SEC staff focuses primarily on the Care Obligation of Regulation Best Interest for broker-dealers and the duty of care enforced under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 for investment advisors.

House Panel Challenges DOL On Independent Contractor Rule
The potential economic disruption of President Biden’s independent contractor proposal came under the microscope during a House panel hearing Wednesday.

AmeriLife shakes up distribution leadership to grow annuity sale
AmeriLife Group, a national leader in developing, marketing, and distributing life and health insurance, annuities and retirement planning solutions, today announced the next phase of changes to its Wealth organization, which are aimed at redefining the independent agent and advisor experience and breaking through traditional distribution models.

Insurance industry coalition forms non-profit to study baffling excess mortality
Members of the group, called The Insurance Collaboration to Save Lives, say they were increasingly concerned about excess mortality and morbidity trends that even three years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, have not returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Life Insurance Digitization: Underwriting Predictive Modeling, Building Consumer Trust, And Keeping Policyholders Healthy
I always like April’s article to include underwriting because the largest life insurance underwriting conference, AHOU, which is April 16-19 this year in Hollywood, FL. I met with Samplemed about predictive modeling for underwriting. As life insurance becomes more digitized, trust and fraud become very real, so I reached out to TransUnion. Wellness—engaging policyholders—is also covered in this article as I contacted Medix Global about their mobile app and medical services. It’s a growing trend way beyond wellness but taking it to the next level including medical prevention and early detection. All three of these topics do have an ultimate connection to underwriting and claims as AI, identity fraud protection, and the use of health IOT data are trending.

Hexure Names Jaylene Kunze as New Chief Financial Officer
Kunze brings more than 20 years of experience in finance and accounting to Hexure and will be a key member of the executive leadership team. She will oversee Hexure’s finance organization. Brent Tuck, Hexure’s current CFO, will remain with the company moving into a new strategic financial role to allow him to spend more time with his family. 

Nationwide Gets Closer to Fidelity — and Invesco
Nationwide is joining with Fidelity Investments to launch a variable annuity and expand variable annuity distribution. The Columbus, Ohio-based insurer also announced that it’s working with another asset manager, Invesco, to add investment options to the menu of flat-fee, investment-only variable annuity contracts. 

Finseca: Three Lessons Ordinary Americans Can Learn From SVB’s Failure
An individual or a family’s financial journey requires careful planning and preparation. When four in five Americans describe the state of the economy as not so good or poor, an overwhelming share of Americans aren’t confident their children’s lives will be better than their own, and we see bank failures like what happened with Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), it’s easy for ordinary Americans to let pessimism set in. But at Finseca, or FINancial SECurity for All, our mission is to remind Americans that there are very clear steps you can take to make sure your financial situation is protected regardless of whatever economic volatility we may need to weather at the moment.

RetireOne Partners with Corebridge Financial to Provide RIAs with Greater Choice for Commission-Free Retirement Income Solutions
RetireOne®, the leading independent platform for fee-based insurance solutions, today announced a partnership with Corebridge Financial, formerly AIG Life & Retirement, to distribute two fee-based annuity solutions on RetireOne’s fiduciary annuity + insurance marketplace. Fee-only fiduciaries on RetireOne’s platform now have access to an even larger selection of zero-commission, simple-to-use retirement solutions designed to fit the needs of the end-client.

Jackson Revamps Efforts To Aid Women’s Retirement Saving
Jackson National Life Insurance is stepping up its efforts to encourage women to start planning for their retirement and doing so by helping male financial advisors communicate better with women.  Women are generally not preparing well for their retirement. According to a Fidelity Investments’ 2021 Women and Investing Study, only 42% of women have a retirement strategy, and of those, only 15% have a written retirement strategy. Meanwhile, they are not getting a lot of assistance as 27% of women are not offered retirement benefits. In comparison, only 17% of men are not offered benefits, according to the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement.

States maintain iron grip on insurance regulation
As summer 2020 wound down, then-Ohio Insurance Director Jillian Froment steered a sensitive rewrite of Actuarial Guideline 49 to a successful vote.  The much-debated new AG 49 made changes designed to tighten up indexed universal life illustrations.  Froment chaired the Life Insurance and Annuities Committee, her assignment as a member of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

2022 Industry Update Archive  2021 Industry Update Archive