October 24, 2011

Allianz Animated Videos Provide Annuity Education

Surveys show guarantees more valuable than workplace plans, potential for high returns

Allianz launched on Monday a series of animated videos for consumers that address annuity information and misconceptions.

“The economic downturn of 2008 caused a major shift in many people’s attitudes and finances,” Katie Libbe, vice president of consumer insights at Allianz Life, said in a statement. “As we discovered in the Allianz Life Reclaiming the Future study, many baby boomers lost money and are aware—and scared—of the risk of outliving their money. They now desire safety, security, and predictability over growth.”

In a follow-up to Allianz’s Reclaiming the Future survey, boomers reported being more attracted to income guarantees than to the promise of high returns with market risk, Libbe added.

Furthermore, more than half of the respondents in the survey expressed distaste for the word annuity, Libbe said, even after describing an annuity-like product as their ideal financial vehicle. One of the videos, “Annuity Myths and Truths,” addresses some of those misconceptions. Despite being geared toward consumers, the video stresses the importance of consulting a financial professional for guidance.

“As a direct result of what we learned from Reclaiming the Future, we invested in the ABCs of Annuities series to help us educate consumers on the benefits of today’s annuities while debunking outdated, and often incorrect, perceptions,” Libbe concluded. “Other available educational vehicles are often complicated, boring or too product-specific. We want to prevent people from tuning out when they hear the word ‘annuity’—and we feel that this series can help change that. We deliberately designed the videos to be educational and entertaining.”

The videos are available on Allianz’s website and are between three and five minutes long.

A survey released by Allianz earlier this month confirmed that investors believe having a guaranteed stream of income in retirement is more important to a secure retirement than having a 401(k) or other employer-sponsored plan.

In a survey released Oct. 18, Allianz found 47% of non-retirees rated a guaranteed stream of income as their top retirement need. Just 27% rated a 401(K) plan as their top need, and 22% rated a diverse portfolio as the most important retirement need.

“Especially in an environment where equity markets–and therefore 401(k) balances–can swing wildly within a week or a day, it is not surprising to see Americans expressing far more interest in the need for guaranteed retirement income versus the balance of their retirement account,” Gary Bhojwani, president and CEO, said in a statement.

He reiterated investors’ reluctance to invest in annuities. “Although the idea of a guaranteed stream of income continues to resonate with Americans, most pre-retirees don’t own annuities or are apprehensive about adding one to their retirement plan.”

Most troubling, though, is that survey’s finding that almost 40% of investors say they have no retirement or investment products of any kind. Over one-quarter say they still have “no idea” what they need in order to have a secure retirement.

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