Minnesota Life Insurance Co., St. Paul, Minn., will replace its existing term product Advantage Elite with Advantage Elite Select in all states except New York, effective May 21.

With the launch of Advantage Elite Select, Minnesota Life also will introduce Express Issue, a streamlined process allowing clients to purchase life insurance in a matter of days. It is available on policies for $250,000 or less, offers a three- to five-day turnaround from receipt of the tele-interview and requires no physical exams or medical blood work.

“This product provides clients with life insurance on their terms,” said Andrea Mack, director, Life Product Promotions, Securian Financial Group. “It helps them purchase the coverage they want when they want it.”

Advantage Elite Select also offers:

  • A guaranteed death benefit for five, 10, 15, 20 or 30 years;
  • Shortened conversion periods. Five, 10, and 15 year durations have five-year conversion periods; 20- and 30-year durations have 10-year conversion periods during which the insured may convert the coverage into permanent life insurance without requiring additional underwriting or evidence of insurability;
  • For an additional premium, an extended conversion agreement allows the insured to extend the conversion period for the full duration of the policy or age 75, whichever is earlier.

In other industry news: 

Mark DiTondoFirst American Insurance Underwriters Inc., the Needham, Mass., named Mark Di Tondo as national sales manager. Di Tondo will be responsible for managing First American’s sales organization.

Di Tondo has held sales management positions in Massachusetts and Rhode Island with National Life of Vermont, MetLife, and MassMutual.

“Mark Di Tondo has the industry knowledge and experience that have significant value to our company’s brokerage managers,” said Kenneth A. Shapiro, president. “He will also be helping and training life insurance agents how to thrive in a competitive market.”

 

Oak Street Funding, Indianapolis, Ind., is expanding its loan origination, underwriting and loan servicing departments by hiring Barry Kehl as director of underwriting and Maranda Stars as controller.

Kehl leaves a position where he handled the performance, management and monitoring of a $700 million commercial loan portfolio. He has prior executive level leadership positions for banking and investment companies, including Indiana Bank and Trust and Fifth Third Bank.

Stars was a senior auditor at Ernst & Young, where she performed audits and quarterly reviews for SEC and non-SEC clients in the retail, consumer products and utilities industries.

Following a 36 percent increase in loans to insurance agents in 2011, Oak Street Funding is on pace for 300 percent growth in 2012. As a result, it has also added four new loan officers and two additional customer service representatives to meet pent up demand for capital in the insurance industry.

 

Accenture, Orlando, Fla. (NYSE: ACN), unveiled a cloud-based version of its life insurance new business and underwriting software. Part of the Accenture Life Insurance Platform, Accenture’s life and annuity insurance software suite, the software component is now available with a Software as a Service (SaaS) licensing option, and is designed to help life and annuity insurers drive growth and profitability and expand into new market segments, while helping reduce costs.

The new business and underwriting component of Accenture Life Insurance Platform provides features that help improve efficiencies and reduce costs, including:

  • An automated and configurable rules-based decision engine;
  • An underwriting workbench, which enables better collaboration among agents, case managers and underwriters;
  • Seamless integration with third-party data and systems.

Accenture has also unveiled the Accenture Actuarial Calculation Engine, a configurable software application designed to support standard mathematical, financial, statistical and actuarial calculations that are needed to implement new complex life insurance products. The solution is designed to help insurers meet the needs of a rapidly changing market by featuring advanced capabilities, including:

  • A comprehensive library of calculation components, including more than 200 ready-to-use templates which define the standard calculations required to support life and annuity products. It also includes pre-configured user functions, actuarial tables and matrices.
  • Extended product definition capacity: the calculation engine is delivered with standard life insurance and annuity components including over 600 standard calculations and over 200 pre-defined product matrices.
  • Streamlined and integrated product testing functionalities: insurers can debug and test new products using a single calculation engine for each step of the product development process. Tables, matrices and calculations that are created can be immediately debugged and tested once all components have been developed.

The Principal Financial Group, Des Moines, Iowa, has created the Assessing Retirement Plan Value, a resource with tips and tools for understanding and evaluating retirement plan fees, services and overall value.

Financial professionals can use the new resource to help clients comply with a key fiduciary obligation: evaluating whether plan fees are reasonable for the services received.

The online resource offers:

  • An explanation of retirement plan costs;
  • Tips on how to review plan services;
  • Help navigating cost considerations;
  • Tips for evaluating fee reasonableness;
  • Tips for addressing participant questions.

 

Jefferson National, Louisville, Ky., expanded its lineup of alternative investment options. Advisors have options from BFP Capital Management, W.E. Donoghue and Hatteras Funds, and more alternative investment options from Invesco, Legg Mason, Janus, Fidelity Investments and Wilshire Funds Management. Jefferson National’s Monument Advisor now includes more than 65 tax-deferred funds in the Alternatives category.

“A growing number of RIAs and fee-based advisors are using alternatives to achieve greater diversification and downside protection in this challenging market—and our surveys show that nearly two-thirds of advisors think alternatives will become more important than traditional asset classes,” said Laurence Greenberg, president, Jefferson National.