Indexed Products Association Changes Its Name And Focus

By

Henderson, Nev.

The National Association for Indexed Products voted at its annual meeting here to change its name and broaden its focus. The new name is the National Association for Fixed Annuities, and its acronym will now be NAFA, says Joan Boros, the associations vice chairman.

Further, the NAFA name will now carry a tag line indicating the organizations broader purview. This tagline says NAFA is “The Association for Traditional Fixed and Indexed Products.”

In a related move, the association voted to allow individual agents and other distributors to become “associate members” of the organization, for annual dues of $200.

Originally, the six-year-old trade group focused on “preserving, protecting and defending” indexed products, especially indexed annuities, she points out. But the association now wants to expand its mission to include all fixed annuity products, not just fixed indexed contracts. Life products are not excluded from NAFAs purview, but they are not the central focus.

This reflects the growing national interest in fixed annuity products in recent years, Boros indicates. Further, NAFA wants to signal that it represents the interests of fixed index insurance products, not registered index products and not securities containing index features.

This does not mean that NAFA is abandoning the associations original mission, Boros stresses. Rather, she says, “we want to broaden our mission.”

The move to include producers within the membership is another part of the broadening effort, she indicates. This should “help our member companies with educating, promoting and backing up” the efforts of producers who sell traditional fixed and indexed insurance products, she says.

Associate members will be allowed to participate in NAFA programs geared toward improving the understanding of traditional fixed and indexed annuities and other indexed products and their place in the retirement plans of individuals, says Boros.

The change will mean that, going forward, NAFA will offer a two-track meeting structure. One track will address global issues related to traditional fixed and indexed annuity products, and the other track will address issues pertinent to producers who sell these products.

One possibility, for the producer-oriented meetings, will to be to sponsor regional events, where member companies can participate as speakers and exhibitors, says Boros. These meetings might offer continuing education credits, as well.

“We hope these changes will make life easier for our member companies and for producers,” Boros says.

NAFA elected Jack Marrion to become the associations new executive director. The president of The Advantage Group, a St. Louis, Mo. index product information and tracking service, Marrion had previously held the post of NAIP executive director.

“The association has a broader mission but it is one that is suited for the times,” says Marrion. “Today, fixed annuity products are the safe money place for many consumers.”

At the meeting, NAFA elected its 2002-2003 officers. They are: as chairman, Michael H. Ebmeier, vice president of brokerage annuity sales at Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Company, Baltimore, Md.; as vice chairman, Joan E. Boros, Esq., partner with Jorden Burt LLP, Washington, D.C.; as treasurer, Robert R. TeKolste, vice president–sales and marketing at Sammons Annuity Group, West Des Moines, Iowa; as secretary, Ronald S. St. Jean, president of SJMS, Reston, Va.

NAFAs directors include the four officers above plus Pamela Aurbach, vice president–national sales development, Jackson National Life, Denver, Colo.; and Michael Tripses, executive vice president and chief actuary, Creative Marketing International Corporation, Shawnee Mission, Kansas.

At the meeting, several members raised questions about whether the new NAFA name might be confused with NAVA, the acronym for National Association for Variable Annuities, or with NAIFA, the acronym for National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. Discussion of this point was minimal, and it stopped after one member said, “Well, maybe thats good.”


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, October 14, 2002. Copyright 2002 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.