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Conning forms alliance with Ramius

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Conning and Ramius Alternative Solutions LLC, which develops and manages customized alternative investment portfolios, have entered into a strategic alliance.

Conning and RASL are developing tailored strategies for insurers that utilize a variety of liquid instruments created in recent years – including exchange-traded funds and total return swaps – that are designed to produce returns that have low correlations to existing client portfolios. This approach provides exposure to sources of return traditionally available only to investors in hedge funds but with lower fees and capital charges as well as greater transparency and liquidity.

The two firms plan to leverage Conning’s expertise in insurance asset management and strategic asset allocation with RASL’s extensive experience in alternative asset strategies.  Client strategies will be overseen by an investment committee consisting of senior professionals from both firms.

In other industry news:

MetLife added MetLife Promise Whole LifeSelect 10, MetLife Promise Whole LifeSelect 20 and MetLife Promise Whole LifeSelect 65 to its MetLife Promise Whole Life series of products.

The new products offer three premium durations – 10 years, 20 years and to age 65, after which no further payments will be required to keep a policy in force. They also provide death benefit and cash value benefits that can continue to grow after the policy is paid up and may provide a competitive supplemental income stream during retirement. The optional riders include:

The Enricher – this optional rider allows the policyholder to pay additional premiums, if desired, which are used to purchase paid up insurance. This allows clients to put additional money into their life insurance policies, thereby increasing not only the policy’s death benefits but also the cash value which can be accessed to provide for needs like supplementing retirement income;

Acceleration of Death Benefit Riderwill provide the policy owner access to all or a portion of the available death benefit should the insured become terminally ill; and

Disability Waiver of Premiums Benefitwaives premiums should the insured become totally disabled (as defined by the rider) for a continuous period of at least six months.

The Guardian Life  Insurance Company of America (Guardian), one of the nation’s largest mutual life insurers and a leading provider of employee benefits, today announced it delivered strong performance across the board in 2012, achieving year-on-year sales growth in all product lines. This strong performance directly benefitted policyholders, as Guardian declared its highest ever dividend payout to Whole Life policyholders in its history: $805 million.

For the year, on a consolidated basis, Guardian paid out $4.7 billion of benefits to policyholders, had a statutory gain of $1.16 billion from operations, before taxes and dividends to policyholders (on a consolidated basis), and had $289 billion life insurance in force.

Guardian finished the year with all four major credit ratings agencies affirming the company’s financial strength:

  • A.M. Best Company — A++          
  • Standard & Poor’s — AA+         
  • Moody’s Investor Service — Aa2          
  • Fitch — AA+         

New York Life will donate $100,000 to One Fund Boston. The fund was established to streamline donations into one account to help the families and first responders affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.

One Fund Boston has raised more than $25 million.  For more information, visit

Minnesota Life is offering a life insurance option that lets policyholders choose eithera lump sum, equal payments or a combination of the two depending on how they wish to divvy up their benefits.

A possible advantage of an installment payout could be a cut in premiums upwards of 20 percent, according to Minnesota Life. Another advantage is that a benefit paid out in installments may withstand inflation.

Minnesota Life allows the installment option to be paid out over a period of 10 to 30 years, and the payments can be made either monthly or once a year.

Security Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York’s Chronic Illness Benefit Rider is now available in Florida, which brings the total to 41 states.

The living benefits policy enhancement may now be used with the Security Mutual Life Customized UL4U universal life insurance policy and the Customizer WL Flex whole life insurance policy in the state.

This life insurance policy and rider accelerates the death benefit on account of chronic illness. It is not a health insurance policy or rider providing long-term care insurance subject to the minimum requirements of applicable state law, does not qualify for the New York State Long-Term Care Partnership program or similar programs in other states, and is not a Medicare supplement policy or rider.

Quadron Data Solutions, provider of data management solutions and an affiliate of Fetter Logic Inc., appointed Richard Thoeny as senior vice president of Product Management.

Thoeny will provide insight and guidance for Quadron Data Solutions’ Q-Suite of products, overseeing integrations and product direction and working with independent broker-dealer users.  He will report to Sheri Facinelli, EVP Strategic Marketing and Sales of Quadron Data Solutions.

Prior to joining Quadron Data Solutions, Thoeny served in several senior roles across the financial services industry. He most recently served as the senior vice president of Operations at COR Clearing LLC, where he was responsible for managing workflows and performance across all departments.  He also held positions at Comprehensive Software Systems as the vice president of Product Management and HybridTrading LLC as the chief operating & compliance officer.