Guardian’s Fiduciary Awareness Quiz asks: Do plan sponsors understand their fiduciary role?

The Guardian Insurance & Annuity Company, Inc. (GIAC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America®, launched The Fiduciary Awareness Quiz , an industry assessment to help plan sponsors better understand their fiduciary obligations and responsibilities.

The quiz consists of 15 yes-no questions designed to assess a 401(k) plan sponsor’s knowl­edge of qualified plan fiduciary best practices, as well as which of these practices is currently being applied to the administration of the 401(k) plan. It provides a customized report with educational information to help plan sponsors better understand their fiduciary responsibility.  Financial professionals can use the tool and reports to gauge the fiduciary awareness of their plan sponsor clients and help fill in knowledge gaps and suggest solutions to help mitigate fiduciary risk.

Forethought Life Insurance Company expands broker-dealer product offerings with new fixed index annuities

Forethought Life Insurance Company, a subsidiary of Global Atlantic Financial Group Limited, launched two new fixed index annuities exclusively designed for broker-dealer distribution. With these products, Forethought’s growing annuity line now includes fixed index annuities, fixed annuities and a fixed annuity with long-term care benefits, all available through multiple distribution networks, as well as variable annuities sold exclusively through broker-dealers.

Forethought has been in the fixed index annuity market since 2007. These additional products mark the company’s first index annuities designed exclusively to meet the unique needs of broker-dealers, helping their advisors serve clients in one of the fastest growing segments of the annuity market. According to LIMRA, index annuities account for 17 percent of annuity sales today.  

One of the new index annuity products, ForeAccumulation™, is designed for clients seeking savings potential and protection while the second, ForeIncome™, offers a guaranteed lifetime income stream for retirement.

Lincoln Financial Group launches next generation Lincoln LifeReserve® Indexed UL Accumulator

Lincoln Financial Group (NYSE:LNC) announced enhancements to its Lincoln LifeReserve® Indexed UL (IUL) Accumulator life insurance offering. Lincoln’s latest IUL product can help advisors address a range of client objectives and risk profiles, offering life insurance and death benefit protection, along with the potential for tax-advantaged income.

In addition to an income tax-free death benefit, the product offers various account options for cash accumulation potential, which can be accessed tax-efficiently as a source of supplemental income for retirement, or other milestones such as college expenses. Each account offers a guaranteed one percent minimum interest rate to protect against negative returns.   

The latest enhancements to the Lincoln LifeReserve® Indexed UL Accumulator are immediately available to Lincoln’s national network of distribution partners (in states where approved).

New insurance product helps growing businesses with planning needs 

The Principal Financial Group® announced a new flexible and comprehensive life insurance option designed to help advisors solve those issues for business owners – Principal Variable Universal Life – BusinessSM. This life insurance product is designed to fund business planning solutions such as executive benefits, exit planning and business protection. The product offers unique benefits to growing businesses that typically are available only to large organizations including: high early cash values, access to more than 100 investment options and institutional pricing.

Sammons Retirement Solutions® Inc. announces enhancements to the LiveWell® Retirement Series

Sammons Retirement Solutions® Inc. announced changes and enhancements to the LiveWell® Variable Annuity, issued by Midland National® Life Insurance Company that increases fund options and adds a new innovative endorsement that offers investors a way to reduce long-term annuity costs.

The newly enhanced LiveWell Variable Annuity offers the potential for long-term tax-deferred asset growth, legacy protection and now, a choice in fee structure. The LiveWell® Value Endorsement lowers fees by offering clients the option to reduce their separate account annual expenses by 0.20% (to 1.15%) in exchange for a surrender schedule. The LiveWell Variable Annuity with Value Endorsement allows advisers to create an individual strategy for each client based on their time horizon, risk tolerance and tax deferral goals. Additionally, the LiveWell Variable Annuity offers a return of premium death benefit.

Voya Financial offers insurance customers speed and convenience

Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), formerly ING U.S., announced that its Insurance Solutions business has launched a faster and more convenient process for use with its Indexed Universal Life-Protector (IUL-Protector*) product, which provides the death benefit protection of life insurance with the potential to build cash value that can be used for any purpose, such as supplemental retirement income.

The new capability, which is being marketed as Orange Pass, allows certain customers to buy a life insurance policy without the inconvenience and time required to take and analyze bloodwork or medical exams. The combination of an expedited underwriting process and a shorter application can help shave weeks off the fulfillment process, with the potential for policies to be issued in as little as 5 business days.

Disabled Veterans Insurance Careers announces 2014-15 board officers

Disabled Veterans Insurance Careers, a nonprofit organization with the mission to educate, train and create meaningful employment opportunities within the insurance industry for disabled veterans, announced the 2014-15 board officers: James R. Pender, chairman emeritus; Gary V. Trippe, chairman; General James L. Dozier, vice-chairman; and Gay G. Trippe, secretary-treasurer.

The organization’s operating board consists of retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. James L. Dozier; Roger C. Mercado Jr., Community Cooperative Ministries Inc.; James R. Pender CPCU, CLU, ChFC, ARM, Oswald Trippe and Company, co-founder; Gary V. Trippe CIC, Oswald Trippe and Company, co-founder and chairman; retired insurance agency executive Gay Trippe, co-founder; and John M. Pollock, CIC, BB&T Insurance Services; retired U.S. Army Col. Thomas A. Dials, chairman emeritus of the Armed Forces Insurance Corporation; and Dr. J.R. Harding, The Agency for Persons with Disabilities. Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Gary L. Bryant is president and CEO.

FSI announces changes to its board

The Financial Services Institute (FSI) announced the election of Adam Antoniades, president of Cetera Financial Group, as vice chair of the board of directors, and Richard Lampen, president and CEO of Ladenburg Thalmann, as new FSI PAC board chair. Antoniades has served as PAC board chair throughout 2014 before his election to the vice chair role.

“Our board of directors is strong and diverse, with small, medium and large firms all represented,” said FSI president & CEO Dale Brown.

New York Life appoints Katherine O’Brien 

New York Life appointed Katherine O’Brien to its Executive Management Committee. O’Brien is chief human resources officer of New York Life and reports to Ted Mathas, chairman and chief executive officer of New York Life.

O’Brien joined New York Life in 1995 as a litigator, specializing in employment litigation and benefits compliance.  She served as the company’s first chief diversity officer in the Human Resources Department from 2006 to 2008.  In 2008, she was elected first vice president and deputy general counsel in the Office of the General Counsel.  In 2010, she was elected senior vice president and chief corporate counsel, leading all corporate practice teams in the Office of the General Counsel, including the employment and ERISA units.  She was named chief human resources officer in 2013. O’Brien earned a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University. 

American Equity named top company as life-health insurer

American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company, an underwriter of index and fixed rate annuities, announced that the company was named to the 2014 Ward’s 50® group of top performing life and health insurers for the fourth consecutive year. American Equity is recognized for achieving outstanding financial results in the areas of safety, consistency and performance over a five year period (2009-2013).

Ward Group is a trusted leader of benchmarking and best practices services for the insurance industry. Annually, Ward Group analyzes nearly 800 life-health insurance companies in the United States and identifies the top performers in each segment. Each of the top 50 companies is awarded the Ward’s 50® Seal and their names are listed as the Ward’s 50® top performers for the year. Each Ward’s 50® company has passed all safety and consistency screens and achieved superior performance over the five years analyzed.

Genius Avenue wins a Gold award in PIMA 2014 Marketing Methods Competition

Genius Avenue, a developer of online benefits marketplace technology and provider of engagement marketing and administrative services, announced that it received the Gold award for its entry in the Professional Insurance Marketing Association’s 2014 Marketing Methods Competition. Genius Avenue submitted an entry in the Special PIMA 40th “Ruby” Anniversary Creative category.

Created using Genius Avenue’s in-house video production capabilities, the video is a light-hearted look at what being a member of PIMA has meant to Ben Rozum, president of Genius Avenue. The video can be viewed at:  https://vimeo.com/92962986.