Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America is taking a new approach to the distribution of indexed annuities.

Allianz Life, Golden Valley, Minn, has introduced an Allianz Preferred program for field marketing organizations (FMOs).

FMOs that want to join the program will have to agree to meet compliance and quality standards and Allianz Life will require the FMO to hire suitability and compliance officers trained by Allianz Life.

Participating FMOs will have to submit marketing materials and advertisements for non-Allianz products to a third party ad review firm, which Allianz will pay for.

Participating FMOs may not be affiliated with a distribution group.

In exchange, Allianz Life will offer the FMOs in the program access to extra information, extra training and the ability to sell exclusive Allianz Life indexed annuity products, the company says.

The program will start by offering indexed annuities, but it may expand to include life insurance products in the future, according to Eric Thomes, a senior vice president at Allianz Life.

Allianz Life, a unit of Allianz S.E., Munich, Germany, hopes the program will help it build deeper relationships with the participating FMOs, Thomes says.

“We think we are just scratching the surface in the totality of this product,” Thomes says.

The term “FMO” is often used as a synonym for “independent marketing organization” (IMO).

Bob MacDonald, a blogger who was once chief executive officer of Allianz Life and Allianz Income Management Services (AIMS), says one concern is that the new Allianz Life FMO arrangement could limit an FMO’s ability to act independently.

Insurers “are trying to take the ‘I’ out of IMO,” MacDonald said during in an interview.

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