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Principal launches Benefit Design Tool

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Principal Financial Group launched the Principal Benefit Design Tool, an online resource that provides a comparison point for group dental, short-term disability, long-term disability and life insurance. Advisors can help small businesses benchmark group benefit features or business owners can use the tool on their own.

With a minimal amount of information, the tool provides a customized report focused on how the particular organization’s benefit designs compare to peer businesses. The tool is easy to use via desktop computer, or any tablet and a report is ready in just a few minutes.

In other industry news:

Minnesota Life, a subsidiary of Securian Financial Group, introduced the Index Crediting Bonus for new and existing policies. When applied, it provides a 1 percent annual bonus based on index credits received over a 120-month rolling period. Minnesota Life may apply the credit to the accumulation value which compounds each year and could help raise index credits and distribution amounts.

Existing Eclipse Protector policies with the Death Benefit Guarantee Agreement were also enhanced with the Performance Death Benefit Guarantee Agreement at no additional charge. Additional enhancements that benefit certain existing policyholders include more index options, dollar cost averaging, the opportunity to switch between fixed and variable loans and systematic distributions.

AssuredPartners of Ohio, through its Dawson Companies platform, completed the acquisition of Dwyer Franchise Insurance International Inc.

Dwyer is a division of Luce, Smith & Scott Inc., and provides insurance programs for the franchise industry. The Cleveland-based agency offers insurance solutions and risk management counseling for the service, retail and wholesale, auto, and professional segments of the franchise business industry.

The American College launched, a mobile launch pad with high-impact CFA Level I prep packages. Candidates studying for the June 2014 Level I exam are now able to pre-purchase educational toolkits that will be released on Nov. 4.

The Analyst Success prep program offers both self-guided and instructor-led packages. Resources include video solutions for application exercises, personal mentors, live online problem-solving webinar classes, video instruction, and the latest eBook technology supplemented by hard-copy workbooks.

The Inter-Company Marketing Group (ICMG), the nonprofit association that promotes strategic marketing alliances in the insurance business, has opened early registration for its 30th annual meeting. That meeting is to be held Feb. 4 to 6, 2014, at the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz.

ICMG is offering an early-bird registration discount of $40 for paid registrations on or before Oct. 31, 2013.

The early-bird registration fee is $825. In addition to the discounted registration fee, early registrants also get a free copy of closing speaker Nick Tate’s updated book ObamaCare Survival Guide! Registration and additional information is available at the ICMG website.

Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools experienced increased participation in two voluntary benefits offerings using education and decision support products from Trustnode.

Trustnode was introduced to Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) to provide school district employees with education and decision support for an existing long-term disability plan and a new short-term disability plan being offered during MNPS’s 2013 open enrollment. MNPS is ranked among the top 50 largest school districts in the U.S. with 6,100 employees across 153 schools.

The Trustnode service supports MNPS’s voluntary plan benefits and was integrated with Benefit Express’s, MNPS’s benefits administration and online enrollment provider, online enrollment system to provide school district employees with a seamless enrollment process. The combined Trustnode and Benefit Express solution nearly doubled participation in the long-term disability plan – resulting in 49 percent plan participation – and achieved 35 percent participation in the new short-term disability plan; premium volume increased by approximately 150 percent. Trustnode’s cloud-based service features interactive animation and decision support to help consumers make well-informed choices about their healthcare benefits and insurance needs.