Donald John Trump today took the oath of office to become the 45th president of the United States of America.
For members of the life insurance and annuity communities, the Trump inauguration marked the official start of another chapter in the long-running fight to protect the currrent tax treatment of the products used to shield Americans against the risks of death, disability and outliving retirement savings.
Trump said nothing directly about the elderly, retirement security or financial services during the short address he gave at the inauguration.
Trump focused on talking about his philosophy of governance.
“We are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people,” Trump said. “The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of the country. That all changes starting right here and now.”
Later, Trump said, “We will make America wealthy again.”
Trump entered the White House as U.S. banks are releasing earnings for the fourth quarter of 2016.
Many top Republicans in the House have made simplifying the tax code a priority. In the past, life insurers have opposed tax code simplification efforts that might eliminate incentives for Americans to save for retirement or protect themselves against catastrophe, such as proposals for replacing retirement savings tax incentives with all-purpose saving programs.
During the conference calls banks are hosting to brief securities analysts on company performance, some executives are already talking about the possibility that Trump administration and House Republicans could make big changes in federal insurance tax rules, especially for bank-owned life insurance and corporate-owned life insurance.
Don Kimble, chief financial officer at Cleveland-based KeyCorp, told analysts that KeyCorp is watching closely to see how House Republicans handle COLI. “We don’t know how that would be treated in the House bill, and how that would play out,” he said.