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ACLI Elects New York Life's CEO Mathas as its Chairman

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The American Council of Life Insurers elected Theodore ”Ted” Mathas, chairman, president and CEO of New York Life Insurance, as its 2012 chairman at its annual conference this week in Orlando.

The ACLI also elected James T. Morris, Chairman, CEO of Pacific Life Insurance Co. to its chairman-elect position. Morris will assume the chairmanship in October 2012.

“We are fortunate to have Ted Mathas lead our board this year,” said ACLI President and CEO Dirk Kempthorne, the former Secretary of the Interior under George W. Bush, senator  and Idaho governor. “His reputation as a strong industry leader and his insight into the key issues affecting the life insurance industry and its policyholders, make him the ideal choice to be ACLI’s Chairman.”

Mathas, 44, likes to invoke in speeches his Greek-born grandmother, who ran a candy store and came to live with his family the year he was born and lived to be 98, to demonstrate the need for retirement safety. Mathas has also noted, as he did in an old speech to the AARP, that “women face far greater financial risk during retirement than men.”

Mathas, joined New York Life in June 1995 as an officer in the asset management, three years out of law school at University of Virginia. He became president of Eagle Strategies Corp., a registered investment subsidiary, in September 1996 and began quickly moving up the ranks in the company, which is known for its long-serving employees and CEOs.

Mathas was President of NYLIFE Securities Inc., chief operating officer in the Agency Department, and then for Life and Annuity, before co-heading the company’s U.S. Insurance Operations. Effective July 2006, Mathas became chief operating officer and was elected a member of the company’s board of directors He was elected president of New York Life effective July 2007.

The ACLI said its priorities are not established until January of each year so Mathas doesn’t have his marching orders, yet, but they are likely in line with the ACLI’s position. If history is any guide, a spokesman noted, the ACLI will continue to support tax policies that encourage people to take personal responsibility for their financial futures,” that is, investing more in life and retirement savings vehicles, especially as Social Security looks grim. See:

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) just announced that Social Security recipients will receive a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) of 3.6% for 201 but that a vast majority of retirees will not see the full   increase due to the expected increase in Medicare Part B premiums deducted from their Social Security payments. The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) stated that this will affect  75% of Social Security recipients who were exempted from Part B premium increases in 2010 and 2011 when there was no COLA, jeopardizing their financial future and “the  instability of the benefit program. This creates financial uncertainty for the 84 percent of Boomers who plan to rely on Social Security to provide retirement income,” according to a recent IRI.

The ACLI will continue to be actively engaged in efforts on the state, federal and international levels relating to regulatory reform and to ensure laws and regulations recognize the difference between banks and insurance companies, an association spokesman said. “The goal is to ensure our products continue to help Americans achieve financial and retirement security.”

Mathas has spoken of encouraging personal responsibility at the smallest levels and of needing “the support of legislators, who can help foster the education and incentives needed to convince more people to plan ahead for their futures.”

“We have the understanding, the financial tools and the resources to restore the retirement promise. Whether this means encouraging people to begin saving a few dollars a week early in their careers, or building their own personal pensions later in life, none of this is impossible. ….Or as my Greek grandmother might have said to me: ‘If you give someone a fish, you feed them for a day. But if you show someone how to bait a hook with a scrap of piecrust, then – stin yasou! – we’ve all got something we can really celebrate.’”

New York Life has a lot of piecrust to work with–the nation’s largest mutual life insurer with more than $325 billion in assets under management.


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