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IRI unveils members-only website

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The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) unveiled its new members-only website,

The new website offers improved navigation and search functionality, access to all of IRI’s print and electronic publications, and new content areas including public policy centers catered to meet the needs of financial advisors and broker-dealer/distributor members.

Among other updates, the new offers:

  • A new advocacy headquarters offering comprehensive analysis of the public policy issues affecting the insured retirement industry and new legislative and regulatory trackers to stay current on applicable laws in each area of jurisdiction;
  • A grassroots government affairs action center providing a forum for financial professionals to engage with their elected officials;
  • A new education destination complete with webinars, podcasts, and IRI’s collection of FINRA-reviewed client materials;
  • A revamped research hub offering the latest economic commentary and data from across the insured retirement industry as well as IRI’s exclusive studies and research publications;
  • New areas dedicated to providing the latest IRI news, conference information, and updates from the operations and technology sector.

In other industry news: 

Liz SmithAssurance promoted Liz Smith (nee Renius) from executive vice president to president, employee benefits.

Smith is responsible for the overall vision and strategy of the benefits department including the areas of health care reform, consumer-driven health plans, compliance and wellness. She also serves a role in advising the company’s benefits consultants and creating and maintaining strategic relationships with carriers and other vendor partners.

Smith belongs to the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Producer Advisory Council and the Humana Advisory Council.

Prior to joining Assurance, Smith served as senior vice president, practice leader of employee benefits for a national insurance brokerage. Before becoming a practice leader, she held various roles in employee benefits including that of producer, account executive and account manager.

A 1999 graduate of Northwestern University, Evanston, she has a bachelor’s degree in Communications.

Premera Blue Cross has selected the Benefitfocus Platform for integrated decision support and online enrollment for new and existing employer customers.

Premera adopted Benefitfocus cloud-based technology for an end-to-end solution that allows customers to shop and compare benefits in an online marketplace setting. Premera will also leverage Benefitfocus claims analysis tools to help consumers explore plan options while providing more visibility into out-of-pocket costs.

The Platform will assist Premera in meeting 2014 healthcare reform requirements and position the organization to successfully handle expected shifts in the group market, support defined contribution models and remain competitive across multiple brands and states.

Shoppers will be presented with the most relevant plans based on consumer purchasing patterns and tools to estimate costs based on expected plan usage. The Platform’s integrated decision support tools, questionnaires and educational videos will provide a unique shopping and enrollment experience for employers and consumers with an increased focus on self-service.

More on this topic

CANNEX, an independent provider of data and information services to the financial services industry in the U.S. and Canada, launched a product education platform with annuity and retirement income educational tools.

 A suite of income annuity analysis tools, the first in a series that CANNEX will introduce over time, includes instantaneous generation of personalized, video-based illustrations using a client’s unique profile data and choices, such as the type of income annuity contract being considered.

The tools are available to advisors through CANNEX Retirement Income Product Exchange (RIPE), which enables advisors to price- and feature-shop from among hundreds of fixed deferred and income annuity products.

The questions that the tools help advisors and their clients answer are:

  • Should I buy an income annuity?
  • When should I buy an income annuity?
  • What is my return with an income annuity?
  • What type of income annuity is right for me?

In addition to creating customized paper-based illustrations and education materials, the CANNEX system simultaneously creates a video that incorporates a client’s unique profile and product choices. The video takes a multimedia approach to explain the advantages and trade-offs of the client’s selections in easily understood terms, using helpful graphics.

Adam Bruckman, president and CEO of Digital Insurance, received the 2012 CEO Leadership Award from The Institute for HealthCare Consumerism (IHC) and David Blanchard, a principal at Digital Benefit Advisors, the firm’s largest division, was awarded the Most Innovative Partner/Consultant Award.

These Digital leaders were among 57 businesses, executives, brokers and consultants nationally recognized in the HealthCare Consumerism Superstars 2012 issue, published by HealthCare Consumerism Solutions. The annual issue showcases winners’ outstanding health and benefit management programs or solutions provided to organizations.

Unum’s (NYSE: UNM) charitable support to causes throughout the U.S., U.K. and Ireland topped $13 million in 2012.

Unum focuses its charitable efforts on supporting public education initiatives that provide more opportunity for students to learn.

Over the years, Unum has helped in creating education programs such as the Girls Leadership Academy in Worcester, Mass., the Principal Leadership Academy in Chattanooga, Tenn., and the Education Leaders Experience in Portland, Maine.

Unum provides financial protection benefits in the workplace such as disability, life, accident and critical illness insurance. Through its Unum and Colonial Life businesses, the company has offices across the U.S., the U.K., and in Carlow, Ireland.