The life and annuity regulatory environment is still changing, and interest rates are still low.

All of the upheaval has put pressure on issuers to focus less on unveiling major new products and programs, and more on making what they already do work better.

That focus has raised the profile of the issuers’ announcements about new alliances. A few years ago, they might have been overshadowed by flashier announcements. Today, alliance announcements are stars.

(Related: Lincoln Adds Indexed Variable Annuity)

Here’s a look at three of the announcements that have caught our eye recently.

1. Prudential Financial Inc. and Babylist Inc.

Prudential formed this strategic relationship to give expecting parents access to crowd-funded life insurance.

Families that are expecting babies can now add life insurance to their baby gift wish list registries.

Friends and relatives can use the registry listings to contribute cash to a life insurance purchase fund. The parents can then use the cash contributed to pay for term life insurance.

Prudential will also be providing baby-related financial advice articles for the Babylist site.

Prudential estimates that about one-third of U.S. baby gift registries are posted on Babylist.

 

2. Starr Companies and Mars Empire Group Inc.

Starr Companies, a company based in New York, will be underwriting a new travel insurance product, under the Travel Shield brand name, for Toronto-based Mars Empire Group Inc.

The product will be aimed at consumers who are using the new Canadian super visa program.

Canada developed the super visa for non-Canadian parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents, Eligible non-Canadian relatives can use the visas to stay in Canada for up to two years at a time.

The people who use the visas need to show that they have private medical insurance.

 

3. Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America and Orion Advisor Services LLC

Allianz LIfe — a unit of Allianz SE based on Golden Valley, Minnesota — has formed an annuity data partnership with Orion Advisor Services LLC of Omaha, Nebraska.

Orion will now put streams of current information about Allianz Life fixed index annuities and index variable annuities on the Orion portfolio tracking system.

Orion markets the portfolio tracking system to registered investment advisors.

— Read Phoenix Issues First New Annuity Since Nassau Re Dealon ThinkAdvisor.

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