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Highmark Names Winkenwerder CEO

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The Highmark Inc., Pittsburgh, Pa., board of directors appointed William Winkenwerder Jr., M.D., M.B.A. as the company’s new president and chief executive officer.   

Winkenwerder is the former assistant secretary of defense for health affairs in the U.S. Department of Defense from October 2001 through April 2007, where he led the Military Health System’s 132,000 personnel and served as the principal medical advisor to Secretaries of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates.

The Military Health System provides care for 9.5 million people through its network of private physicians and hospitals known as TRICARE and through more than 70 military hospitals worldwide.         

Winkenwerder, 58, is a graduate of Davidson College, where he received his undergraduate degree in 1976, and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in 1981. He also received a graduate degree in business administration from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in 1986. He is board certified in internal medicine and practiced primary care for several years.

Winkenwerder was appointed special assistant to the administrator for the agency that oversees Medicare and Medicaid for the Department of Health and Human Services in 1987, and, in 1988, was recruited to Kaiser Permanente in Atlanta as the director of Quality Assurance and later became associate medical director.

In 1992, he was offered the position of vice president and chief medical officer for Prudential Health Care’s Southern operations. In 1996, he was recruited by Emory University as the associate vice president for Health Affairs and vice president for the Academic Medical Center, where he was responsible for managing a 100-plus physician practice group.

He was vice chairman and executive vice president for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts from 1998-2001, and then joined the Department of Defense in September 2001. When 9/11 occurred, the appointment as the assistant secretary of Defense was accelerated and he began his position 10 days after 9/11. Shortly thereafter, he was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

In other industry news:

Tom CurtainFirst American Insurance Underwriters Inc., Needham, Mass., has named Thomas J. Curtin an internal annuity wholesaler. Curtin is responsible for working with insurance agents to help them determine appropriate annuity solutions for their clients.

Before joining First American, Curtin was an annuity wholesaler for Integrity Life Insurance Company and The Phoenix Companies.

First American also named David B. Tyrrell as a brokerage manager. Tyrrell assists producers and their clients with case design and implementation.

David TyrrellBefore coming to First American, Tyrrell was sales vice president of the Boston-based Smith Companies, a Capitas Partner. Previously, he served as a regional account manager for Lincoln Financial Group.

Pacific Life Insurance Company, Newport Beach, Calif., has launched Pacific Expedition, a new deferred fixed annuity offering a combination of safety and opportunity.

The product locks in a guaranteed interest rate, providing predictable growth. But if interest rates rise, clients have an opportunity to make a one-time increase to the guaranteed rate. Or, even if they do nothing, they may receive an increase automatically.

This rate increase opportunity is available through a new optional feature called RateAdvantage. If newly declared rates for Pacific Expedition rise, clients who elect this feature at contract issue have a one-time opportunity on a contract anniversary during the initial guaranteed period to increase the guaranteed interest rate. If the clients don’t use the feature by the last year prior to the end of the initial guaranteed period, they will receive the higher rate automatically. The new rate will apply for the remainder of the guaranteed period.

Securian, St. Paul, Minn., has introduced Ovation Lifetime Income II guaranteed living withdrawal benefit (GLWB) rider, an optional rider available with certain Securian MultiOption variable annuities for an additional cost.

The rider provides a benefit which is designed to guarantee annual withdrawals from the annuity contract, up to an annual limit.

Features on the Ovation II GLWB rider include:

Six percent compound benefit base enhancement;

The benefit base guarantee doubles the benefit base after 10 years or the client’s 70th birthday if no withdrawals have been taken;

CustomChoice allocation allows advisors to assist clients in selecting their own investments–up to a 70% equity/30% fixed income portfolio. Election of the rider does require use of an approved allocation strategy;

Increased withdrawal flexibility so clients can take withdrawals if needed without cancelling the 6% benefit base enhancement feature.

The Phoenix Companies Inc., Hartford, Conn. (NYSE: PNX), introduced the Protected Solutions Annuity.

The product is a single premium fixed indexed annuity that offers two indexed accounts and a fixed account, principal protection from investment loss and, for an additional fee, a guaranteed chronic care and enhanced death benefit. Designed for individuals approaching or already in retirement, the Protected Solutions Annuity provides benefits that can be applied to chronic (or confinement) care within the home, an assisted living facility or nursing home. If the chronic care benefits go unused, the beneficiary is entitled to an enhanced death benefit.

The Guaranteed Enhanced Death Benefit provides a death benefit, payable monthly over five years, equal to a guaranteed multiple, ranging from 125% to 200%, of the original premium reduced for withdrawals. The guaranteed multiple varies by issue age and year of death. 

Both the Guaranteed Chronic Care Benefit and the Guaranteed Death Benefit become available after the fifth contract year and until activated, can continue to grow for another 10 years. Additionally, if no withdrawals have been made from the annuity contract, a return of premium death benefit is available in all contract years. This feature provides a return of the additional fees paid for the SafetyGuard Benefit. 

The product, issued by PHL Variable Insurance Company, a Phoenix subsidiary, is available through The AltiSure Group. 

The State Life Insurance Company, a OneAmerica company, Indianapolis, Ind., has added a single premium immediate annuity (SPIA) to its existing ImmediateCare product offering. ImmediateCare SPIA offers those in early retirement a traditional expenses the opportunity to create a guaranteed income for either a fixed period or for life. ImmediateCare SPIA joins ImmediateCare Plus, which has for over a decade provided health-based monthly income to help individuals pay for long-term care.