The variable annuity industry must do better at getting its message across to consumers, industry executives said at last week’s annual meeting of the National Association for Variable Annuities.
In a speech at the meeting here, NAVA’s vice chair, Pamela Schutz, maintained industry groups need to unify behind a message to consumers and legislators that annuities are “the only product that offers guaranteed income for life.”
NAVA wants to join with the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington; the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Falls Church, Va.; the Million Dollar Roundtable, Park Ridge, Ill.; LIMRA International, Hartford, Conn., and other organizations to deliver a unified, clear message about the value of annuities, said Schutz, who is president and chief executive officer of Genworth Financial’s retirement income and investments unit.
“We need to improve the perception of annuities,” she said. “There’s a lack of understanding and in some cases loathing of our products.”
Schutz called for industry unity in lobbying and educating legislators, including sending top corporate executives to Capitol Hill to lobby Congress for laws encouraging annuity purchases to help consumers prepare for retirement.
The industry also needs to increase efforts to make it easier for consumers to buy annuities.
Specifically, she urged the industry to step up efforts to achieve straight-through processing of contracts.
[NAVA, ACORD and other industry groups have long advanced straight-through processing as a way to increase annuity sales by making it easier to sell annuities through the Web. Its widespread use would allow agents to submit e-applications for annuities, eliminating the need for home office employees to enter the information manually into a carrier's computer system.]