In a first for Senior Market Advisor, we handed the reins over to our readers and asked for your choices in 13 categories. More than 300 of you voted, we tallied those votes and we present the top vote getters here. Allianz dominated the proceedings in the carrier categories. In another trend, several of the product winners and runners-up were combination policies – life insurance combined with long term care insurance, or annuities combined with LTCI. Make of that what you will. We begin opening the envelopes now…
Envelope 1 Which carrier offers an LTCI product with the most value for seniors?
Allianz Life Insurance Co. of North America
Allianz begins its run of first-place finishes with our very first category. The company strikes a chord with financial advisors who work with seniors, including the men and women who sell long term care insurance. Allianz, in the long term care industry since 1990, says it “offers long term care products with innovative benefits to help you protect the wealth you have worked hard to accumulate and keep up with the rising costs of health care.” www.allianzlife.com
John Hancock was an early entrant in the long term care insurance industry, for groups and individuals. The company issued its first policy in 1987 and has more than 850,000 long term care insurance policyholders. A combination of built-in benefits and optional riders address the needs of consumers no matter their personal needs, and John Hancock takes pride in the fact its policies cover individuals, couples and families. As LTCI becomes a bigger part of the U.S. health care solution, companies with long track records like John Hancock will be there to help.
Envelope 2 Which LTCI product offers the most value for seniors?
Touted as long term care insurance that’s more than just nursing home insurance, Generation Protector (and its follow-up products) has been a hit for Allianz since its introduction. The product is meant to keep the consumer in control of where he receives care.
“Generation Protector was created so that consumers can be in complete control of their future long term care, including where they receive it,” says Vincent Vitiello, president and CEO of Allianz Life of N.Y. “Given a choice, most people would elect to remain at home rather than a long term care facility. This new plan gives them that option, as well as extra cash to pay for items not usually covered by a traditional policy, such as prescription drugs.”
Custom Care II
Custom Care II and its various iterations comprise John Hancock’s most comprehensive LTCI policies. The policies – Custom Care II, Custom Care II with Family Care II and Custom Care – entice advisors, and our readers, with benefits that include at-home care, assisted living facilities, nursing homes and adult day care. The Family Care benefit makes the policies multigenerational, covering all life stages. With the coming of the baby boomers, these policies are designed to be customizable.
Envelope 3 Which carrier offers an annuity product with the most value for seniors?
Allianz’s array of annuity products covers the spectrum from straight fixed to indexed to immediate and more, and advisors like the company and its products. Allianz uses an array of bonuses, crediting methods and allocation strategies to keep its annuities attractive to seniors. And with the popularity of indexed products high, Allianz has been busy introducing products that link to an index but still protect against risk.
AmerUs Group is more than 110 years old, and its AmerUs Annuity Group is a top dog in the fixed indexed annuity arena, with more than 290,000 annuity customers. Traditional fixed and fixed index annuities give advisors who work with AmerUs the opportunity to grow their clients’ retirement nest egg while protecting it from risk. While the company was popular enough with senior advisors to earn the runner-up position in this category, its products canceled each other out in the next.
Envelope 4 Which annuity product offers the best value for seniors?
For the eighth quarter in a row, MasterDex sat atop the fixed annuity sales heap, according to the latest industry sales figures from Beacon Research. This fixed indexed product caters to seniors who look for safety and the possibility for growth, and advisors clearly like it, too.
The MasterDex series now includes the original, MasterDex 5 and MasterDex 10, all of which provide certain upside guarantees and protect against risk with various crediting features. MasterDex 10 even allows customers to earn a 10 percent bonus on premium received for five years.
Golden Rule’s Annuity Care policy allows policyholders to leverage funds to cover long term care expenses, a common worry among today’s seniors and older boomers. Annuity Care has an LTC rider that kicks in after LTC expenses are paid for three years by drawing down the annuity, and the rider can be purchased for 36-month coverage or lifetime. Golden Rule is known for it work with health savings accounts, but its life insurance/LTCI policies and annuity/LTCI policies are helping seniors plan for the future.
Envelope 5 Which carrier offers a life insurance product with the most value for seniors?
When the subject of life insurance comes up, most people tend to think of it as a way to protect their families when they are still working and earning an income, but life insurance is far more than that. The Allianz Web site says its products – universal life, single-premium life, term life and fixed index universal life – can protect against a wage earner dying too soon, but can also provide for distribution of retirement income you may not outlive.
Life insurance also is a popular tool for offsetting the tax bill that comes due when tax-deferred annuities are passed on to heirs. Allianz’s line of GenDex products is used for these purposes and more.
AIG American General
The companies of AIG have been around for almost a century, and that has put the company near the top when it comes to life insurance sales in the United States. Its products run the gamut from term to universal to whole to variable universal, with various policies under each of those categories. With net income of $6.39 billion for the first six months of 2006, the company is keeping its products relevant to the needs of 21st-century seniors, and advisors are recognizing that, giving the company the runner-up nod.
Envelope 6 Which life insurance product offers the most value for seniors?
Allianz’s line of GenDex products was already popular with advisors, but the company didn’t stop. The company introduced GenDex Survivorship earlier this year, a product that helps seniors plan for the future.
“GenDex Survivorship was designed to help consumers maximize the assets they leave behind and minimize the taxable impact,” says Jeffrey Suyematsu, senior vice president for the Life Insurance Product Division for Allianz. “[It] is really about helping to provide the resources to continue a business, cover estate taxes and provide financial resources for an heir.”
Offered by Lincoln Financial, the MoneyGuard series is another example of products for seniors that offer a long term care component. With MoneyGuard, a single-life, single-premium product, LTC expenses are covered, but if LTC is never needed, MoneyGuard pays a death benefit. The original MoneyGuard product has been expanded to include MoneyGuard Flex and MoneyGuard Reserve.
Envelope 7 Which marketing organization offers the best selling system?
Personalized Brokerage Services
Since 1986, PBS has offered advisors sales advice and help in the annuity arena. Now, through its 150 professionals, the company offers advisors industry training to sell more annuities, life insurance and long term care insurance. The Masters Academy training course gets a lot of the credit for PBS advisors’ success. And it must work, as our readers voted PBS to the top in this category.