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Kevin Mechtley. (Photo: Sammons)

Life Health > Annuities > Fixed Annuities

Your Clients Still Have Retirement Savings Holes to Fill: Kevin Mechtley

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Kevin Mechtley is about to become an annuity designer at a company that’s been hungry to offer your clients annuities.

Sammons Financial has named him vice president of business development and chief innovation officer for the independent annuity channel.

Sammons is a West Des Moines, Iowa-based life and annuity issuer that’s part of a bigger, family-owned conglomerate.

Sammons’ built a new headquarters campus about two years ago. It has introduced a wide range of annuities and annuity features since then, including a three-year, non-variable indexed annuity; a non-variable indexed annuity that incorporates an environmental, social welfare and corporate governance (ESG) index; and the annuity-issuer power behind RetireOne’s Constance “contingent deferred annuity,” or a lifetime income spigot that can be bolted on to just about any plain vanilla retirement savings portfolio.

Mechtley has been Sammons’ government affairs director.

Before Mechtley moved to Sammons, he was an attorney at companies such as Aviva USA and Athene USA.

He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas and a law degree from Washburn University.

He holds the associate, Life Management Institute, professional designation, and a Wine & Spirit Education Trust Level 2 certificate.

He talked, via email, about how he sees his new role.

1. What are your top priorities for your first 90 days?

First and foremost, we are looking to maintain a high volume of product development activity across all of our distribution channels.

I look forward to helping formalize our process and resources needed to grow new product ideation as well as optimize our distribution channels and opportunities.

I can’t wait to get started.

2. Your background is in government affairs and the legal side. What makes you suited for this role?

I’ve always thought success in politics is the ability to cut through the noise and ensure your message reaches the target individual level.

I view success in this role largely the same way – part of my job is to leverage all the great insights of our business intelligence teams, our distribution partners, and our data resources to anticipate where the market is headed and then ensure the product solutions we develop reach the target individual level.

What gaps exist today in retirement and income planning?

What are the solutions to problems we anticipate on the horizon?

What are retirement investors really feeling?

And what can we do to utilize the safety and upside of our products combined with innovative product and feature design to meet those goals?

One more thought on politics – often elected officials “govern by the rear view mirror” because it’s the safest and most surefire way to ensure you hang around.

Those that really take off and jump 20 points in the polls are the rare breed who ignore the rear view mirror and anticipate where the puck is headed before anyone else and double down with true issue investment.

The same is true in our world – and we’re going to be taking a strong future focus mindset to try to get to that puck first.

3. What in your mind is meant by innovation in the marketplace? How exactly will you be looking to innovate?

One thing that always bothers me is when I hear someone say our marketplace is “mature.” That implies that it has no room for growth and I personally think that is a wildly inaccurate view of our world.

There is zero doubt in my mind that retirement savers are still looking for the value and safety our products provide.

My goal is to partner with distribution and with our internal teams to meet the customer where they are.

The market for our products is not contracting – and neither is the need to innovate to meet consumer demand.

The other thing I often hear about innovation is that it is correlated with complexity. I disagree with that too.

Some of the best innovations are designed to make things more simple, more accessible, and more consumable.

While we will certainly be looking at true innovation in product design by thinking as far outside the box as we can, that doesn’t mean we need to make it more complicated.

Our team will be coming to work every day with the view that there is a market not yet tapped and a solution not yet available.

Kevin Mechtley. (Photo: Sammons)


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