National Underwriter Life & Health
would like to acknowledge Nick Gerhart as the winner of the Industry Elite Award for Regulatory Advocacy.

Gerhart, who is currently working for Sammons Financial Group, previously represented American Equity. Nominated by Andrew Unkefer, president and CEO of Unkefer & Associates Inc., Nick was instrumental in reversing SEC Rule 151A. His dedication and commitment helped save jobs and preserve the fixed indexed annuity industry.

SEC Rule 151A sought to reclassify fixed indexed annuities as securities rather than insurance products. Meant to address market conduct issues with FIA sales, 151A would have had a severe impact on the fixed indexed annuity industry. It would have forced anyone who sold fixed indexed annuities to become licensed by the SEC, a process that can be expensive as well as time consuming. 151A also had the potential to drive smaller operators out of the FIA business altogether.

Nick and others in the industry decided to mobilize, organize and fight the ruling. Iowa and Minnesota, which are home states for many fixed indexed annuity carriers, were able to serve as microcosms for the rest of the country as to what would happen to the industry if Rule 151 A was implemented. As covered by National Underwriter last July 26, Gerhart’s work was instrumental in helping to deliver the legal and legislative victories that resulted in the SEC’s withdrawal of Rule 151A.

“Senator Harkin and his staff, as well as Congressman Boswell and Senator Grassley and their staffs, were great help. We were very fortunate to have, in the state of Iowa, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle who understood the issue not just as a legal issue but the implications that ruling would have had for jobs in the state of Iowa.”

Gerhart stressed that this achievement is the result of hard work by many different people. “It would be impossible to list everyone in the industry who helped, but thanks to all the carriers, IMOs and agents, and to Susan Voss with her leadership at the NAIC who was extremely instrumental in working with the Iowa delegation.”