Industry Updates 

Important news and updates from insurance carriers, financial institutions, and solution providers for brokerage professionals and agencies. 

Please send announcements, press releases, or noteworthy developments to Jordan Foster for review and consideration.

Archives:  2023   |   2022   |   2021


Finseca's CEO Marc Cadin Continues to Fight for Americans' Financial Security
First, it’s incredibly disheartening that you [the Department of Labor] have decided to jam this rule through during the holiday season.   Second, while we have repeatedly tried to engage in a constructive dialogue over the course of several years now, just like many of our industry partners have, we have found your lack of responsiveness and disregard for the undeniable consequences of this rule to be unfortunately consistent.  And third, it seems clear that you are determined to pursue a rule that is perhaps well intended, but one that will unquestionably harm the financial security of the American people and make it harder to bring people into the financial security profession at a time when we desperately need to grow it. 

SEC Probes Investment Advisers' Use of AI
The Securities and Exchange Commission is asking investment advisers how they use and oversee artificial intelligence, as agency head Gary Gensler continues to express skepticism about the technology.  The SEC’s examinations division has sent requests for information on AI-related topics to several investment advisers, part of a process known as a sweep. 

10 Questions People Ask Google About Life Insurance - 2023
One way to read people’s minds: Type a few characters into Google and see how Google offers to complete what you’re typing.  We studied what people are thinking about life insurance by opening a private browser window and simply typing “is life insurance,” without the quotation marks, into Google.

FINRA Releases Reg BI Notice
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has released a notice pointing broker-dealers to guidance issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission designed to help BDs comply with the agency’s Regulation Best Interest as both regulators continue bringing enforcement actions related to the rule.  In late November, FINRA barred a broker for excessive churning in the accounts of multiple customers, resulting in more than $2.3 million in losses and thereby violating Reg BI.

Life Happens: Getting back to the roots of storytelling
Life Happens has a new executive director who wants to bring the organization back to its roots of telling stories about the ways life insurance plays a critical role in protecting Americans’ financial security.  Brian Steiner was named the executive director of Life Happens, which is the consumer arm of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. In August, NAIFA announced it would merge with Life Happens and the Society of Financial Services Professionals.

Many not planning well for life expectancy, study finds
A new study by Jackson Financial Inc. and Boston College suggests that most seniors are not as concerned about longevity risk – i.e., outliving retirement resources – as they should be, as most are not accurately predicting their lifespan.  Longevity risk refers to the chance that life expectancies and actual survival rates exceed expectations or pricing assumptions, resulting in greater-than-anticipated cash flow needs on the part of insurance companies or pension funds.  “People do not accurately estimate their life expectancy when comparing their expected longevity to standard mortality tables,” Glen Franklin, assistant vice president of Research and RIA & Lead Generation Strategy at Jackson, said.

NAIC life insurance committee sets 2024 regulatory goals
The Life Insurance and Annuities Committee approved its 2024 work charges Tuesday with no comment. Charges were also set for the Life Actuarial Task Force, which the committee oversees.  Members come from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which debate and set insurance regulation across a variety of issues. 

DOL fiduciary proposal applies ‘major hammer’ to bad advice, panel says
The Department of Labor fiduciary rule proposal went public Oct. 31 with no obvious exposure to lawsuits. That was welcome news for producers.  But a closer look at the 494 pages reveals the potential for severe penalties for any failure to adhere to the fiduciary standards, say lawyers from Groom Law Group.

How Life Insurance Policy Reviews Trip Up Fiduciary Advisors
The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards recently published a new guide highlighting key areas in which state-based annuity sales rules fall short of the organization’s own fiduciary standards.  The guide’s publication quickly sparked conversation among insurance sales professionals and financial advisors about the significant murkiness of the regulatory waters when it comes to advisors and insurance.

Forrester’s top 5 insurance industry predictions for 2024
Now is the season when news columns include predictions for the coming year – followed by New Year’s resolutions that will pop up in a few weeks. Predictions are always tricky – and resolutions rarely fulfilled. Weren’t we supposed to all have jet packs or flying cars by now?


DOL Denies Request to Extend Fiduciary Rule Comment Period
Lisa Gomez, assistant secretary of Labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration, denied a request by industry trade groups to extend the comment period on Labor’s fiduciary rule.  In a letter Tuesday, Gomez told the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association that “EBSA believes that its current proposal reflects significant input it has received from public engagement with this project since 2010, and looks forward to another robust comment period, public hearing, vigorous public debate, and stakeholder meetings.”

New MassMutual research: How have families and belief in the American dream changed?
As the holiday season approaches, some believe that the American Dream – defined by most as financial security for them and their family – is disappearing, and many are turning to family for financial advice and broadening who they invite into their ‘definition’ of family. Shockingly, social media influencers made the “family” cut with some.  These findings are detailed in the latest State of the American Family survey from MassMutual, nationally representative of age, gender, race, ethnicity and education.

Survey reveals 8 in 10 Americans worry that Artificial Intelligence tech will be used for identity theft crimes
Generative artificial intelligence (AI) has captured the world’s attention but also has introduced new risks and concerns that were not on people’s radars even a year ago. Today more than 8 in 10 (82%) are concerned about the use of AI by criminals to steal someone’s identity, that’s according to a group of general consumer respondents of the latest Agency Forward survey conducted by Nationwide.

7 ‘Irrational’ Reasons People Avoid Annuities: Study
The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College’s new special report about longevity starts with a simple fact: Over the past century, life expectancy has increased significantly around the world.  In the United States, on average, a man alive at 65 is now expected to live an additional 17.5 years, while a woman is expected to live 21 more years. Beyond the gender averages, the research shows, life expectancy varies significantly by economic status, health state and marital status — meaning that some groups have enjoyed even more impressive longevity growth. 

Financial fears encourage, inhibit life insurance sales
People who have financial fears are more than five times more likely to say they want to buy life insurance, according to new research by LIMRA. However, at the same time, that research also found that interest in buying life insurance is often overstated as affordability is a common reason why people ultimately choose not to buy.  “The financial fears that correlate with a motivation for buying are also a practical reason for not buying,” Jennifer Douglas, senior research director for LIMRA and LOMA, said.

Northwestern Mutual Study Finds Gen Z Wants to Talk About Family Finances Far Earlier than Previous Generations
Younger Americans say they are ready to have conversations about more sensitive family financial topics earlier on in life. From family budgets to inheritances to estate planning, the time to talk is trending sooner. As the 2023 holiday season approaches, Northwestern Mutual’s Planning & Progress Study is exploring this topic for the very first time.

Jackson Study Finds Vast Majority of Investors Inaccurately Predict Life Expectancy, Increasing Risk in Their Retirement Income Plans
Jackson National Life Insurance Company (Jackson®), the main operating subsidiary of Jackson Financial Inc.1 (NYSE: JXN), today released key findings from its comprehensive study on how retirees and financial professionals perceive retirement risk and the possibility of outliving income. The study is part one of Jackson’s Security in Retirement Series conducted in partnership with the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. This multi-phase research effort explores the potential threats to financial security in retirement and how financial professionals and retirement investors can more effectively manage these threats.

Fiduciary rule goals look suspiciously similar to SEC agenda, analyst says
Oversight of fixed indexed annuities remains just beyond the reach of federal regulators, but the new fiduciary rule might be part of a coordinated effort to change that.  Brad Campbell, partner at Faegre Drinker, said the DOL’s message and goals align a little too neatly with a March complaint the Securities and Exchange Commission filed against a Massachusetts advisor for selling annuities.

18 Trade Groups Press DOL to Extend Fiduciary Rule Comment Period
Eighteen financial services trade groups pressed the Labor Department Wednesday to extend the 60-day comment period on its new fiduciary rule, the Retirement Security Rule, and amendments to the prohibited transaction exemptions, as the plan “makes significant and unanticipated changes to the current regulatory framework.”

Literal Language Versus Practical Language…The Client’s Perception Is Our Reality
I remember when my oldest kid was a toddler, and my youngest kid was old enough to just barely sit up by himself. I was in my office which overlooked the living room. They were both in the living room sitting on opposite sides of the room as I was observing from afar. My wife was downstairs in the kitchen. My oldest son (Seth) thought it would be a good idea to grab a plastic cube that was a piece to some sort of puzzle and launch it across the room at his little brother. Nolan Ryan couldn’t have done it any better. His form was perfect, and his fastball was delivered right to the side of Matthew’s head. It made a loud “pop” when it made contact. Matthew burst out crying. Before I could say anything or do anything, my wife yelled from the kitchen down below, “Seth, did you hit your brother?” At this point Seth is nervous and he knows he’s in trouble. My wife yelled out again, “Did you hit your brother?” He nervously and hesitantly yelled back “I didn’t hit Matthew!” Although Seth was 100 percent telling the truth, I then got involved and clarified what really happened.

Jim Ash Recognized with the 2023 Douglas Mooers Award for Excellence

NAILBA's most coveted and prestigious accolade, the Douglas Mooers Award for Excellence, was presented to Jim Ash at NAILBA’s 42nd annual meeting in Hollywood, FL. The Mooers Award honors distinction in brokerage and is presented to the individual most committed to furthering independent life brokerage as a distribution system, and who demonstrates an exemplary record of community service. 

NAILBA Announces Winners of 2023 ID Twenty Awards, Honoring 20 Insurance Innovators and Trailblazers

NAILBA, a Finseca Community, has announced the 2023 recipients of the ID (Independent Distribution) Twenty Awards, sponsored by Prudential. The ID Twenty Awards honor Independent Distribution’s most courageous innovators and visionaries, who have made important contributions to the insurance profession.

Simplicity and Passerelle Partners Join Forces
"We are pleased to welcome the Passerelle team to Simplicity," said Bruce Donaldson, Partner and CEO of Simplicity. "Passerelle is a well-respected firm which continues to build on Simplicity's expertise in developing bespoke strategies for private clients and expands the company's international reach. We are confident that Simplicity's support and solutions will aid the Passerelle team as they continue to provide best-in-class products and services to their clients."

Finseca’s CEO Marc Cadin Expresses Disappointment Over Fiduciary 3.0
At a time when we need to be encouraging more Americans to pursue holistic financial plans,” said Marc Cadin, CEO at Finseca, “the department is using incendiary and misleading language like “junk fees” to rationalize a third failed attempt to pursue a regulatory result that will limit consumer choice and access to the very advice millions more Americans need in order to achieve financial security."

U.S. Life Activity Rises, for Most Age Groups
Life insurers had a complicated relationship with applicants in October.  Application activity for individual coverage increased some for people ages 50 and younger, and it increased a lot for people ages 71 and older, according to activity data from MIB Group.

Insurers’ AI races ahead of rules
Insurance was one of the first industries to use big data, said Scott Shapiro, principal, advisory, KPMG U.S., speaking during the recent KPMG Insurance Industry Conference.  The ability to take large sets of data, build even larger bodies of data around them and then query them in natural language was used by the industry years before ChatGPT captured the world’s interest.

2022 Industry Update Archive  2021 Industry Update Archive