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Conning expands its insurance research business

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Conning launched a series of new initiatives to expand its Insurance Research and publications business. 

The insurance services provider increased focus on middle market industry issues in both property-casualty and life sectors, as well as greater emphasis on global issues, capital markets and investment opportunities.

To further these initiatives, Steve Webersen will become responsible for managing the day-to-day activities of the business. He will take over from Stephan Christiansen, who will take on primary responsibility for expansion initiatives.

Webersen brings more than 25 years of insurance-related investment and investment banking experience, most recently as Managing Partner at SFRi LLC, a boutique investment banking firm.  Prior to SFRi, he served as a managing director with Swiss Re and Securitas Capital. Before Swiss Re, he served in the insurance rating organization at A.M. Best Company; prior to that was an investment banker and equity research analyst with Smith Barney.

In other industry news:

The American United Life Insurance Company (AUL), a OneAmerica company, made enhancements to its whole life insurance offerings that will enable policyholders to access the death benefit of their policies during life, if needed, to help cover the costs of chronic or terminal illness.  

AUL’s addition of chronic and terminal illness riders will allow a policyholder to accelerate the death benefit in the event of a qualifying illness and access the cash value of the policy to cover medical expenses, receive in-home care, make needed modifications to a home or to use for any other purposes.

Like a death benefit, chronic and terminal illness benefits will be paid income-tax free to the policyholder. Beginning this month, the riders are automatically included with most AUL whole life policies at no cost to policyholders. With the chronic and terminal illness riders, the policyholder decides how much of the policy death benefit to accelerate, subject to IRS and percentage limits. The amount received results in a lien against the policy – which reduces the benefit amount received by their designated beneficiaries at the time of death (or earlier via policy termination). Any amount not accelerated, minus applicable lien charges, is left to beneficiaries in the form of a death benefit.

A policyholder can qualify for accelerated benefits by being unable to perform at least two activities of daily living (from a specified list) such as bathing or dressing, suffering a severe cognitive impairment or being certified by a licensed health care practitioner as having an illness that is expected to result in death within 12 months.

McDonnell CooperEileen McDonnell, president and chief executive officer of Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, received the 2013 Outstanding Service to Adelphi Award, presented by Adelphi University.

The annual award is presented to a member of the University community who has led the way and been an example for others in his or her commitment to students of Adelphi, often exemplified by volunteering time, extending expertise and making Adelphi a philanthropic priority in his or her life.

McDonnell, who earned her M.B.A. from Adelphi in 1988, has been an active member of the Adelphi community. She has spoken at Adelphi’s GOAL M.B.A. program and established a scholarship endowment for women students in the Robert B. Willumstad School of Business.

Penn Mutual Life presented Susan Cooper, CLU, ChFC, CFP, CDFA, CAP, managing director of Penn Mutual’s career agency, with a 2012 National Chairman’s Award.

This is Cooper’s second National Chairman’s Award, which recognizes Penn Mutual Career Agency System managing partners and managing directors who have demonstrated exceptional all-around performance and leadership.

Previously, Cooper received the 2009 HTK Sales Leader Award and the Life Sales Leader Award in 2009 and 2010. Her agency was honored with the 2010 National President’s Award for the Career Agency System and a 2010 Life and Annuity Premium Growth Award.

An active member of the General Agents’ and Managers’ Association (GAMA) International, Cooper has qualified for GAMA’s Master Agency Award and International Management Award at the Diamond Level every year since 2004.

Prior to joining Penn Mutual, Cooper served as executive vice president of AXA Advisors’ Northeast Division and as the manager of its New York Metro Branch. During that time, she was recognized with AXA Advisor’s Gold President’s Trophy for ranking as the top agency in the entire country five times. She also received the #1 Platinum Chairman’s Trophy in 2000 as president of the Northeast Region.

A 29-year industry veteran, Cooper has been a Qualifying and Life Member of the Million Dollar Round Table since 1985, and a member of the American College Board of Trustees since 2008. She is actively involved in a number of women’s organizations, including New York Women’s Agenda, Women in Financial Services, National Association of Women Business Owners, and Women’s Bond Club.

The Standard announced annuity rate changes.

The firm decreased most interest cap rates, crediting rates and immediate annuity payouts effective April 1. The company noted that its ISA 10 cap rates are holding.

To secure current rates, applications had to be signed and dated on or before March 31.

The United Heritage Financial Group holding company, based in Meridian, has acquired Merced Property and Casualty Co. of California in a purchase that gave the Idaho company 94 percent of Merced’s stock.

Merced is the third company added to United Heritage since 2000, through one merger and two stock acquisitions. The company now owns United Heritage Life Insurance Co., United Heritage Property and Casualty Co. and Sublimity Insurance Co. The companies provide insurance to policyholders in dozens of states.

Merced was founded in 1906 by a group of farmers.

Alternative Brokerage (AB) is a new wholesaling concept for broker-dealers, large producer groups, registered investment advisors, regional banks and career marketing organizations who wish to expand their product offerings to include fixed, indexed and alternative products. 

AB provides full-service and sales support, acting as a de facto back office and distribution unit for institutions, groups and individuals. AB will wholesale indexed and fixed annuities, QLACs, Market Linked CDs, DI, LTC and Insurance products.


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