Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, Minneapolis, Minn., has introduced The 4C’s of Successful Retirement Income Strategies, a framework that provides an uncomplicated process to help individuals ask questions and – with the help of a trusted financial professional – work through the complexities of retirement income planning and the important transition period starting roughly five to 10 years before retirement.

Focused on simplicity, the 4C’s include:

  • Clarity – fact-gathering part of the process where individuals look at the realities of today and address some basic questions about their future.
  • Comfort – involves identifying the desired lifestyle for what could be multiple decades of retirement living.
  • Cost of Living – evaluates the impact of inflation on retirement savings.
  • Certainty – identifies solutions based on time-tested data to help form a realistic and manageable retirement income strategy.

To help consumers better understand this framework, Allianz Life developed an interactive website that directs people to a short quiz that reveals a high level overview of their attitudes about key retirement issues. After answering a few simple questions, they can print a summary of their results, complete with tips to help prepare for next steps, which may include meeting with their financial professional where they can discuss their specific situation. To access the 4C’s of Retirement interactive website, visit: www.allianzlife.com/retirement.

In other industry news:

ING U.S. Retirement, New York, N.Y., appointed Rich Linton as president of Individual Markets. Linton will be responsible for all aspects of the business, including ING Financial Partners – a closely aligned and branded broker-dealer with over 2,500 independent registered representatives.  He will also oversee ING’s retail investor channel, a team responsible for providing phone-based guidance and support to new and existing ING customers looking for help with their retirement savings and income needs, including IRA rollovers.

 

United Technologies Corporation, Hartford, Conn., has launched the Lifetime Income Strategy. This new default investment option is based on a design by AllianceBernstein L.P. and built to provide the simplicity of a target date fund with the security of lifetime income, similar to a traditional DB plan. The new option offers investors greater freedom, flexibility, and control.

The Lifetime Income Strategy was built as a next-generation target date portfolio. More than a single fund or even series of funds, this personalized savings and investment strategy applies the efficacy and simplicity of target date investing to construct a truly individualized approach. Through the Lifetime Income Strategy, each DC plan participant now has access to a target date portfolio built specifically for them.

“We’re adding the Lifetime Income Strategy specifically to offer participants who receive their UTC retirement benefits through our DC plan an affordable and effective option designed to provide the opportunity for secure income in retirement,” said Natalie Morris, director of Employee Benefits for UTC.

 

The Society for Annuity Facts & Education (SAFE), Inc. officially filed for 501(c)3 status as it embarked on its mission to raise awareness and provide the public with information about annuities.

Organized as an educational association, SAFE’s primary focus is to provide information about the benefits, features and uses of annuities to the general public. SAFE also: 

  • Provides consumers and the media with an accurate, comprehensive, and unbiased source of information, in order to help them make informed decisions;
  • Limits the amount of misinformation the general public and media are exposed to;
  • Communicates important facts about annuities;
  • Provides a forum for the exchange of information;
  • Provides opportunities for education through town hall meetings, website communications and content, social media, publications, as well as other programs and activities.

In its developmental stage, SAFE has been closely affiliated with NAFA, the National Association for Fixed Annuities, a 501(c)6 organization because it provided the initial resources and guidance in establishing SAFE. However, with the approval of SAFE as a 501(c)3 organization, it will operate independently. 

Great-West Retirement Services website received a Hermes top Platinum award this spring in the category of Website Design.

Highlights of Great-West’s redesigned website include:

  • A more intuitive, user-friendly navigation and design that combines graphic and text elements to address the different preferences individuals have in regards to how they process information.
  • Architecture that is built to work in a tablet environment so an application is not required to use the majority of the website’s features.
  • Easier to find information with one- or two-click navigation to any page of the website.
  • Flexible architecture construction that will facilitate our ability to add more enhancements to the site over time.

“This award validates our success in developing a website that creates a better overall experience for participants as they prepare for their retirement income needs,” said Charlie Nelson, president of Great-West Retirement Services. “The site makes it easier for participants to find information, to learn about retirement planning and to take the actions that will improve their retirement readiness,” he said.

 

Colonial Life, Columbia, S.C., is the exclusive sponsor of the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2012 Employee Benefits Survey.

The annual survey of 600 employers in the United States gathers information on the types of benefits employers offer their employees. The survey results will be released June 25 at SHRM’s national conference in Atlanta.

Colonial Life has sponsored the SHRM Employee Benefits Survey since 2007.

The survey is completed by a random sampling of human resource professionals from small companies with fewer than 100 employees to large companies with more than 500 employees. Employers are asked about the employee benefits they offer, such as health insurance, paid vacation, retirement plans, life insurance, child care assistance, employee education programs and more than 250 other possible benefit options.

The results show the number of employers offering each benefit, comparisons based on staff size, organization industry and sector, and year-to-year trends.