Variable annuity companies should deliver a simpler message and simpler variable annuity products.[@@]
Many speakers echoed that theme here earlier this week at the annual meeting of the National Association of Variable Annuities, Reston, Va.
A simpler product is easier for the advisor to understand, increases sales, reduces suitability problems and reduces the risks related to features such as guarantees, the speakers said.
Annuity sellers need a consistent message and a consistent goal of putting the customer first, according to John Kennedy, national sales director of the brokerage division at PLANCO, a unit of Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., Hartford.
“Brand is important and there is no question that we use it to our advantage,” said Kennedy of Hartford’s trademark stag logo. For advisors, brand can help eliminate a step in the sales process, Kennedy added.
But “there are companies that do not have the best brand but still do a boatload of business,” Kennedy said. He suggested that insurers can succeed by offering products that really serve the customer, not simply the products that happen to be popular today.