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The 17 biggest announcements from life and health insurers this week

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Interbrand, a brand strategy and design consultancy, has rewarded the AXA Group for reaching 48th place in the 2015 Best Global Brands ranking. AXA also joins the Top 50 of Interbrand, which values the brand at $9.254 billion. This rise in the rankings acknowledges AXA’s positioning in key sectors and its decisive initiatives, which enabled the Group to exceed its objectives and affirm its position as global leader.

American International Group, Inc. (NYSE: AIG), a global insurance organization that traces its roots back to the establishment of a small insurance agency in China nearly a century ago, has launched a sweeping initiative to expand access to life insurance for Chinese-American consumers in the United States. As part of AIG’s blueprint for building further on the transformative growth strategy announced in 2014 for its product distribution network, the carrier has begun recruiting several hundred additional life insurance agents to address the needs of Chinese-Americans and is implementing an array of other measures to augment its service to them. 

AIG’s research indicates Chinese consumers value permanent life insurance. The carrier believes its Quality of Life … Insurance® product suite – known as “life insurance you don’t have to die to use” and centered on flexible solutions designed to address multiple consumer needs – resonates strongly in the Chinese-American market. For more information about opportunities with AIG Financial Network, visit

The Guardian Insurance & Annuity Company, Inc. (GIAC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian), introduced its first Qualifying Longevity Annuity Contract (QLAC) for The Guardian SecureFuture Income Annuity SM. Now individuals can designate a portion of their qualified Individual Retirement Account (IRA) assets for use later in retirement so that these funds will not be subject to required minimum distributions (RMDs) beginning at age 70½.

Imeriti Financial Network (IFN) just concluded their tenth and final IUL Boot Camp of 2015. This two-day, all-expenses-paid event was held at the Gateway Marriott hotel in Atlanta, Georgia on October 15-16, 2015. During this event, 55 agents heard from several expert speakers in the Indexed Universal Life (IUL) space. During each presentation, experts were able to walk participants through detailed sales ideas and marketing programs, while providing advice on structuring IULs for maximum client benefit. Social Media expert, Amy McIlwain, also joined the event to discuss cutting-edge social media secrets elite life insurance producers are using to help promote their business.

IFN CEO, Jacob Stern commented on the event by saying, “The attendance we get during each event is incredible. IFN is now recognized as one of the top leaders in the industry for training life insurance agents.” To find out more information on IFN’s premier IUL Boot Camps, contact IFN by email at [email protected] or by phone at 866-736-0652.

Jefferson National, the creator of a tax-advantaged investing platform for Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs), fee-based advisors and the clients they serve, has announced a partnership to offer a seamless data interface with Orion Advisor Services, LLC (“Orion”), a premier portfolio accounting service provider for advisors. Jefferson National’s Monument Advisor, a Flat-Fee Investment-Only Variable Annuity (IOVA) with more than 350 underlying funds, is a transparent, no-load tax-advantaged investing platform used by more than 3,000 RIAs and fee-based advisors nationwide to build more wealth for their clients through the power of tax deferral.

Orion provides a customizable technology solution including account management, trading, performance reporting and business intelligence, used by more than 700 advisory firms. The creation of a data interface for Jefferson National’s Monument Advisor on the Orion platform will allow RIAs and fee-based advisors to provide more holistic financial advice, by aggregating tax-deferred assets alongside taxable vehicles within a single advisor workstation with real-time data and seamless transaction capabilities.

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) introduced the Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance to help pay for the rising cost of final expenses such as funeral costs, remaining medical bills or other consumer debt. Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance is a non-participating whole life insurance policy that will not be eligible for dividends. 

In other MassMutual news, the company also announced its redesigned digital experience at, giving individuals, business owners and businesses an eas-to-use and highly engaging resource for planning, pursuing, managing and reaching their financial goals. Developed using responsive design technology, the site adapts intuitively to all devices including desktop, mobile, and tablets and is equipped with basic Web accessibility features based on guidelines in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

New York Life has launched a new income annuity, Mutual Income, designed to offer clients the opportunity to directly participate in the company’s mutual structure. Separately, New York Life has expanded its income annuity options available on tax-qualified savings. Both innovations address the growing demands of retirees and pre-retirees. Mutual Income works much like a traditional income annuity, where income can begin immediately or be deferred until a future start date of the client’s choosing.  As with other income annuities, a client invests a lump sum with an insurer, and receives an income stream that’s guaranteed for life. But unlike traditional income annuities, the total income amount is not capped at the guarantee. As policy owners, New York Life’s Mutual Income clients will also be eligible for annual dividends that can be used to increase their retirement income beyond the guaranteed amount.

NFP Advisor Services announced the addition of Greater Midwest Financial Group, reflecting its continued success in attracting independent wealth management firms to its broker-dealer and registered investment advisor (RIA) platform. NFP Advisor Services provides wealth management solutions, integrated technology and business consulting, including compliance services, to independent financial advisors. Greater Midwest Financial Group is an independent wealth management practice that offers estate, tax, education, retirement and investment planning services.

The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company (Penn Mutual) announced the immediate availability of two new annuity products: Premier Foundation Indexed Annuities and Guaranteed Foundation Fixed Annuity. These additions to Penn Mutual’s annuity offerings will significantly enhance the company’s ability to serve a broad range of consumer needs. Premier Foundation Indexed Annuities are designed to offer consumers market based growth potential tied to the performance of leading market indices (up to a cap) — without the downside risk of direct market investment. Meanwhile, the Guaranteed Foundation Fixed Annuity is designed for consumers seeking growth to help build a source of lifetime retirement income, fill retirement income gaps or safeguard a portion of retirement savings to allow for more aggressive investing of other assets. It is geared for those who prefer predictable, tax advantaged growth with more flexibility than alternative savings vehicles, such as certificates of deposit.

The Professional Insurance Marketing Association (PIMA) will hold its Annual Meeting from January 28 – January 31, 2016 at the Hilton Los Cabos Resort, Mexico. Opening keynote speaker, Kelly McDonald, multicultural marketing and business trends expert, will provide a blueprint to reach the insurance industry’s “sweet spots.” Her presentation on Boomers and Hispanics: Consumer Segment Imperatives will also include a session on what it means for a business to be “Hispanic Ready.” PIMA’s annual event draws dozens of C-suite and senior executives from leading agencies, TPAs, brokerages, underwriters and related product and distribution companies serving the affinity benefits and direct marketing industry. The early bird registration discount and housing deadline is December 10, 2015. Attendance is open to prospective members. For a brochure and registration form, call 817-569-7462 (PIMA) or visit

Symetra Life Insurance Company announced the expansion of their group benefits product suite to include a new, enhanced Symetra Critical Illness (CI) Insurance policy. This new group product allows employers to offer an added layer of financial protection in the event of a covered critical illness — with added flexibility for the employer and the employee and more covered conditions than traditional CI policies. The policy is available as standalone coverage or in conjunction with other Symetra group products, including stop loss, life, disability and Select Benefits fixed-payment medical insurance.

Cheryl Neal, president, North America Life Insurance for Foresters™ announced the appointment of Eric Miller as vice president, U.S. Life and Annuity Sales. Foresters is a leading international financial services provider with $28 billion of funds under management. In this role, Miller will lead strategy and plans for sustainable and profitable growth of Foresters U.S. life insurance and annuity business. He will also work to deepen relationships with distribution partners in line with Foresters purpose and target markets.

The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) has named Tim Nelligan, Central Division Executive for The Hartford, as chairman of its Texas/Southeast Division Board of Directors. As chairman, Nelligan will help guide the philanthropic endeavors of the IICF’s Texas/Southeast Division, including its ongoing commitment to community-based nonprofits operating in the areas of education, at-risk children, and veterans’ services. Nelligan assumes the chairmanship having previously served on the Division’s Board of Directors for three years.

The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) announced that Nick Lane, Senior Executive Director and Head of U.S. Life and Retirement for AXA, has been elected to serve a full term as chairman of the IRI Board of Directors. He had been serving in the post since July, and had previously served as vice chairman and as a member of the executive committee. IRI also announced the election and re-election of board members, as well as the election of officers and executive committee members.

Board members elected to serve three-year terms expiring in 2018 are:

  • Wayne Chopus, Senior Vice President, Strategic Relationship Management, Sales Strategy, Business Intelligence and Sales Operations, Prudential Annuities;
  • Carolyn Johnson, President, Annuities and Tax Exempt Markets, Voya Financial;
  • Jim Kwok, Managing Director, Head of Subadvisory, J.P. Morgan Asset Management;
  • Robert Moore, CEO, Legal & General Investment Management America (LGIMA);
  • William Morrissey, Managing Director and Divisional President, Independent Advisor Services, LPL Financial;
  • And Jerry Patterson, Senior Vice President, Retirement and Investor Services, Principal Financial Group.

Johnson, Kwok, Moore, Morrissey, and Patterson had been serving on the board by interim appointment.

Board members elected to fill unexpired terms expiring in 2016 are:

  • Jeff Miller, Managing Director, Head of Wealth Management Advice and Platforms, UBS Financial Services Inc.;
  • James Mullery, Managing Director, Head of Separately Managed Accounts, BlackRock;
  • And Lorna Sabbia, Managing Director, Head of Retirement and Personal Wealth Solutions, Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Board members elected to fill unexpired terms expiring in 2017 are:

  • Michael Cogswell, Senior Vice President, Product Manager – Retirement Solutions, PIMCO;
  • Scott Couto, President, Fidelity Financial Advisor Solutions;
  • And David Giertz, President, Nationwide Financial Services Distributors.

Board Member re-elected to serve three-year terms expiring in 2018 are:

  • David Cruz, Head of Institutional Annuities, New York Life Insurance Company;
  • Robert DeChellis, President, Allianz Life Financial Services LLC;
  • Lynne Ford, Executive Vice President, Distribution, Calvert Investments Inc.;
  • Elizabeth Forget, Executive Vice President, MetLife Retail Retirement and Wealth Solutions;
  • AXA’s Nick Lane; and William Lowe, President, Sammons Retirement Solutions.

IRI also announced the election of three Board members to serve as officers:

  • William Benjamin, CEO, U.S. Bancorp Investments Inc., was elected Vice Chairman;
  • Robert Moore of LGIMA was elected Past Chairman;
  • And Benjamin Huneke, Managing Director, Head of Alternative Investments, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, was elected Treasurer/Secretary.

Joining them on the IRI Executive Committee as at-large members are:

  • Robert DeChellis of Allianz Life Financial Services LLC;
  • Paula Nelson, Managing Director, Global Atlantic Financial Group, Head of Annuity Distribution, Forethought Distributors LLC;
  • And John Papadopulos, President, Wells Fargo Retirement, Wells Fargo & Company.

The MetLife Premier Client Group announced that Jeremy M. Straub has been named Managing Partner of MetLife Premier Client Group of Florida. The firm maintains offices in Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Coral Gables, Plantation and West Palm Beach, and recently added locations in Tampa, Sarasota and Fort Myers to better serve its clients throughout South Florida. In his new role, Straub will be responsible for leading his team of 190 advisors with $3.7 billion client assets placed under management to deliver superior client service and provide holistic financial strategies designed to help clients meet their financial goals. Previously, Straub served as Regional Vice President with Ameriprise, where he oversaw a team of 177 advisors managing approximately $7.9 billion in client assets.

Joshua Hauser has been named vice president and chief agency officer in the Individual Life and Financial Services (ILFS) division for the companies of OneAmerica. In this role, Hauser will be charged with growing and developing the important retail general agency system. Hauser has nearly 15 years of success as an agent and in building and leading agencies in the insurance business. His most recent field leadership role was with Guardian in Indianapolis, where he delivered recruiting, launch and development systems and success to an agency with nearly 40 agents.

The Society of Actuaries (SOA) announced the results of its member voting, with Jeremy J. Brown, FSA, MAAA, EA, serving as 2015-2016 President-Elect. Brown will begin his duties as the 68th SOA President at the 2016 SOA Annual Meeting and Exhibit, for the 2016-2017 term. Residing in Mt. Kisco, NY, Brown has worked as an actuary for 39 years. Brown retired earlier this year from Mutual of America Life Insurance Company, having served as Executive Vice President and Chief Actuary. He previously worked at Milliman and State Mutual. Brown graduated from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in 1976, with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics.

The SOA also announced the elected Vice-Presidents:

  • Joan C. Barrett, FSA, MAAA;
  • Teresa Russ Winer, FSA, MAAA;
  • And Gaetano Geretto, FSA, CERA, FCIA.

The SOA’s elected Board members include:

  • Karen J. (Sasveld) DeToro, FSA, MAAA;
  • Roy Goldman, FSA, CERA, MAAA;
  • Andrew D. Rallis, FSA, MAAA;
  • Marcus A. Robertson, FSA, FCIA;
  • And William M. Sayre, FSA, MAAA. Craig Reynolds, FSA, MAAA, will serve as President of the SOA for the 2015-2016 term.


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