The National Association of Insurance Commissioners launched a retirement security initiative focused on education, consumer protection and product innovation.
NAIC President and Missouri Insurance Director John M. Huff announced the initiative during opening remarks at the association’s spring national meeting in New Orleans.
“Baby boomers are retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day, and the blessing of increased longevity means older Americans will be spending increasingly longer amounts of time without a paycheck,” said Huff. “Too many Americans have no money — as in zero — saved for retirement. Among baby boomers alone, four out of 10 have no retirement savings. The economic, political and public policy challenge this reality creates is enormous.”
NAIC is planning a consumer education campaign that encourages consumers of all ages to adequately plan for their retirement years, said Huff. Additional campaigns will focus on educating seniors about the risk of elder abuse and exploitation.
“Additionally, we plan to review our continuing education requirements for insurance producers to emphasize suitability requirements, as well as prohibitions on unfair marketing practices — especially those targeting senior citizens,” said Huff.
NAIC also will work to review current laws and regulations and consider new models for suitability and disclosure to protect against unlawful practices that target the elderly.
Finally, the association said it will work to identify areas where current laws stifle innovation, such as antiquated laws that don’t recognize the use of electronic signatures.
“We also need to gain a better understanding of how big data and new technologies can be used to benefit both consumers and the industry,” said Huff. “I look forward to working with consumer and industry groups to help identify new or redesigned products that truly meet the needs of American consumers.”
The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) applauded the initiative.
“As stated by Director Huff, Americans face significant obstacles in preparing and saving for a financially secure retirement,” IRI’s statement said. “Too many Americans are under-saved. Countless others are unprepared to manage the challenges brought on by longer spans, leaving few Americans who can be sure their savings will last throughout retirements that could be decades long.”
IRI pointed to its own research that found only about a quarter of baby boomers are confident their savings will last throughout their retirement years.
“Consumer education initiatives will have an important part in overcoming these challenges, and present an opportunity for insurance regulators and the retirement income industry to partner together to help Americans attain financial security in retirement,” IRI said. “We applaud Director Huff, the NAIC and insurance commissioners nationwide for recognizing the retirement security challenges that exist today, and for committing to this new Retirement Security Initiative. We believe our industry — including life insurers, broker-dealers and affiliated financial advisors — is well positioned to assist regulators with this effort and to help Americans reach their financial goals in retirement. We look forward to working with regulators across the nation to promote retirement security so that all Americans can achieve a financially secure and dignified retirement.”
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