Catherine J. Weatherford, new president and CEO of NAVA, says that the most important issues she sees facing the group and the industry are the protection of the favorable tax treatment accorded variable annuities, as well as the need to educate Americans about the importance of retirement planning and the value that VAs can have in such planning. Maintaining that tax treatment, she says, will keep it a “strong component” of retirement planning. She argues that the education of consumers on retirement planning in general has become even more important, with the disappearance of defined benefit plans, the increases in healthcare costs, and the fact that Americans live longer.
In addition to building “long-term, productive relationship” with other organizations in the insurance industry and with planners for finance and retirement, Weatherford also feels that one area in which NAVA can be helpful is through innovation: she points toward straight-through processing for the distribution chain as something that can be of tremendous help within the industry.
Building membership is also important to her, and along with her outreach to other organizations she plans on growing NAVA’s rolls, as well as getting members more involved in what the organization is doing so that it becomes “stronger and better.”