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Senate Gets Annuity Bill

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Senate members have introduced S. 1389, a bill that could reverse efforts by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to claim jurisdiction over indexed annuities.

The bill would exempt indexed annuities and indexed insurance policies from regulation by the SEC.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb. The cosponsors are Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Sam Brownback, R-Kan.

The bill is similar to H.R. 2733, which is also known as the Meeks-Price bill. That bill was introduced by Reps. Greg Meeks, D-N.Y., and Tom Price, R-Ga.

SEC officials and others say indexed annuities should be regulated as securities because, from the point of consumers, they behave like other SEC-regulated products.

SEC critics say indexed annuity issuers back the annuities with their own general account assets and have sold products that have performed much better in recent months than SEC-regulated securities have performed.

The Coalition for Indexed Products, Washington, a group representing indexed annuity manufacturers and distributors, has welcomed introduction of S. 1389.

Jim Poolman, a coalition spokesman and former North Dakota insurance commissioner, notes that Nelson is a former insurance commissioner.

“Senator Nelson and his colleagues understand that fixed indexed annuities are insurance, not securities, and the SEC’s new rule will only put a roadblock between these products and the middle-class households that need them,” Poolman says in a statement.

More information about the bill is available here.: