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The 8 biggest announcements from life and health insurers this week

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The Plus Group, Inc., a disability insurance brokerage organization with 22 offices throughout the U.S., announced the first annual National DI Day®, which will take place in various locations around the country on May 5, 2015. This event is in conjunction with Disability Insurance Awareness Month (DIAM). National DI Day® is sponsored by The Plus Group, Inc. with support and assistance from the top DI carriers. Met Life’s video titled, “Words that Work” will be premiered at the various locations and/or remotely via a webinar. And Plus Group’s local offices will offer a unique program that may include: CE courses, DI Expert speakers, DI training and more. For more information about this one of a kind event, please go to www.NationalDIDay.com.

New York Life launched its new Clear Income Fixed Annuity, a fixed deferred annuity with a Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit that gives clients – primarily pre-retirees looking to lock in future income – a secure income that is guaranteed for life, and at the same time allows assets to grow while still maintaining control of their money. Clear Income was designed based on market research that examined how important certain product attributes are to retirees. Here are the top five most important attributes by percent of respondents: control of money, 76 percent; safety of principal, 73 percent; keeps pace with inflation, 72 percent; easy access to my money, 67 percent; income payments cannot be outlived, 55 percent; and high growth potential ranked eighth with only 36 percent indicating that this was important.

And in other New York Life news, the company announced that it received the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s (MCCA) 2015 Employer of Choice Award for the Northeast Region. The honor spotlights five regional industry leaders who have committed to, and succeeded at, creating and maintaining an inclusive corporate legal department. The MCCA, a Washington, D.C.-based organization dedicated to the increased hiring, promotion and retention of minority legal professionals, recognized New York Life’s legal department for its commitment to an inclusive workplace and ongoing emphasis on diversity.

PlanSource®, which provides a cloud-based health exchange and benefits engagement platform, announced the availability of the PlanSource Mobile App™. The App, which is now available for free download through the Apple® App Store®, allows employees of organizations who use the PlanSource Platform™ quick and easy access to all of their benefits in one location via any iOS mobile device. Employers use the PlanSource Platform for benefits shopping, enrollment, billing and ongoing administration. Developed to be streamlined and simple to use, the PlanSource Mobile App puts convenience and control in the hands of consumers so they can easily look up the details of the health, life, disability and other benefits they are currently enrolled in and make informed choices related to their benefits all year long. Within the App consumers can instantly access relevant details anytime about each elected plan, share their ID cards and store relevant health care contacts right in the palm of their hands.

For the seventh consecutive year, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian) has been recognized by DALBAR Inc. and awarded the 2014 DALBAR Seal of Excellence for Underwriting and 2014 Seal of Excellence for New Business. Guardian is one of the nation’s largest mutual life insurers and a provider of individual disability income (DI) insurance, which is underwritten and issued by its wholly owned subsidiary The Berkshire Life Company of America. Both awards represent the “Seal of Excellence for Agent Interactions,” based on DALBAR’s annual overview of Disability Insurance New Business & Underwriting quarterly surveys.

The National Long Term Care Solutions Sales Summit will take place on Oct. 27, 2015 in Washington D.C., said Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), the conference organizer, via press release. “To support building sales within the industry, the conference will offer free registrations and will also be streamed online with no-cost access for viewing on any device with Internet access,” Slome said. Four insurers have stepped up to sponsor the free online streaming of sessions: Genworth Financial, John Hancock, Transamerica and Nationwide. Over 1,500 insurance agents have already registered to watch sessions streamed online from the upcoming April 14th webcast from the National Selling Medicare Supplement Insurance Summit, Slome notes. The Summit program will primarily focus on topics designed to help insurance and financial professionals successfully market both traditional and linked-benefit LTC solutions. Initial information has been posted on the Association’s website www.aaltci.org/2015summit.

American International Group, Inc. (NYSE: AIG) announced that 29 top-performing life insurance agents honored as “Top Knights” at AIG Direct have provided customized life insurance protection to nearly 90,000 Americans. These agents qualified for this special recognition based on their net in force case count since they joined the organization; once an agent reaches 2,000 lives protected, he or she is honored as a “Top Knight.” These AIG Direct Top Knights are in the top 1 percent of all life insurance agents based upon paid premiums and number of lives insured. AIG Direct is AIG’s direct-to-consumer distribution channel based in San Diego. You can view an AIG Direct Top Knights video and more on AIG Direct’s YouTube channel or watch it below.

NFP, an insurance broker and consultant that provides employee benefits, property & casualty, retirement, and individual insurance and wealth management solutions, announced the change of its legal name from National Financial Partners Corp. to NFP Corp. The new name aligns with recent organizational changes that combined the company’s core capabilities into two complementary business segments: Insurance Brokerage & Consulting (IBC) and Advisor Services. “Our new name is a direct result of our emerging prominence as a company commonly known as NFP,” said Douglas W. Hammond, chairman and NFP’s CEO. “The new corporate structure is consistent with our evolution to a more coordinated service model that underscores our strong personal commitment to each of our clients. These changes will further clarify to our employees, clients and prospects who we are, what we offer and how our diverse offerings combine to form a single, powerful suite of resources.” In 2014, NFP completed 22 acquisitions and rebranded 55 previously acquired companies under the NFP name. The recent initiatives support NFP’s ongoing expansion plans and its coordination of resources to strengthen its integrated platform.

SunGard’s iWorks Compass has been named a best-in-class solution in the CEB TowerGroup analysts’ “Life and Annuity Policy Administration Systems (PAS) Technology Analysis” report published in January 2015. iWorks Compass received a best-in-class ranking in the Operational Support and Enterprise Support categories. The CEB TowerGroup technology analysis provides a customer-driven, transparent, and unbiased review designed to drive informed business decisions. By combining qualitative and quantitative data from interviews with industry experts, financial institutions, and vendors, analysts have identified 22 attributes that define a “best-in-class” life and annuity policy administration system. “As insurance companies depend on policy administration systems to service the entire policy lifecycle, outdated technology can negatively affect customer satisfaction, employee productivity, and ultimately raise costs for insurers. With 46 percent of policy systems installed almost a decade or more ago, it makes sense that nearly half of insurers now plan to adopt or replace their technology systems by 2018,” CEB TowerGroup research director, Sam Stuckal, said via press release.