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.

2022 Industry Update Archive    2021 Industry Update Archive

JANUARY 2023

French Named Chair of National Association of Insurance Commissioners Life Insurance and Annuities Committee
Ohio Department of Insurance director Judith L. French was named chair of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Life Insurance and Annuities Committee, highlighting the selection of department staff to 20 NAIC committee and task force leadership roles in 2023.

Wink hosting Virtual Career Fair for February’s Insurance Careers Month
Wink will be supporting the annual Insurance Careers Month during the month of February with a virtual career fair for the life insurance and annuity industry.

AmeriLife Announces Key Organizational Changes on Heels of Strong Growth & Expansion
Following three years of record-breaking growth and expansion, AmeriLife Group, LLC (“AmeriLife”) today announced a strategic, organizational restructuring with the creation of two new, distinct distribution groups – Wealth and Health – an evolved structure designed to deliver more focused growth along with the resources needed to continue to grow AmeriLife’s industry-leading partners.

Will ChatGPT, artificial intelligence replace financial professionals any time soon?
Will artificial intelligence replace financial professionals any time soon? No. Even ChatGPT says so. But even artificial intelligence might have a difficult time accurately answering that. 

Insurers (mostly) successful on COVID-19 business interruption lawsuits
Insurers were mostly victorious in the initial business interruption lawsuits filed in the wake of the COVID-19 shutdowns that began in March 2020. Those rulings mainly came from federal courts. Now class-action lawsuits are wending their way through state supreme courts, where insurers are getting more good news. “Insurers had a fair amount of success in defeating these claims in federal court,” said Ali I. Haque, partner at BakerHostetler, a national law firm.

Top FINRA Exam Priorities in 2023
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s just-released Examination and Risk Monitoring Program report gives broker-dealers insight into findings from recent oversight activities of FINRA’s Member Supervision, Market Regulation and Enforcement programs.

Fractional Shares, Fixed-Income Pricing to Get Watchdog Scrutiny
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said how fractional-share trades are reported will be a focus of its examinations in 2023. The industry-backed regulator said supervisors will also look at compliance with fair-pricing rules for fixed-income trades, according to a report released on Tuesday.

U.S. Life Application Activity Gets the Chills
U.S. individual life insurance application activity dropped in December, MIB Group reported Tuesday.  The Braintree, Massachusetts-based industry organization said overall application flow fell 4.2% when compared with application flow for December 2021.

NAFA Elects 2023 Board of Directors
The general membership of NAFA, the National Association for Fixed Annuities, approved the slate of candidates presented for its 2023 board of directors at the association’s annual meeting held recently in Santa Monica, Calif. Nominations were received from the membership at large, and candidates were vetted by the current board before being proposed during the association’s 14th annual Annuity Distribution Summit.

Nearly two-thirds of women are delaying their retirement due to inflation
Inflation has shaken women’s retirement security and confidence, according to a Nationwide Retirement Institute® survey of employer-sponsored retirement plan participants and sponsors. The study found that 62% of women are either expecting to retire later than originally planned or don’t believe they will ever be able to retire because of inflation, compared to 47% of men. This is a significant jump from 2021, when only one in four women expected to postpone or cancel their retirement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

These 22 Life Insurers Just Saw Over 10% Growth in Premiums
National Life, the industry’s top seller of indexed life insurance according to research firm Wink, saw a doubling of renewal premiums over the last five years, according to an investor update presentation released in June. Life insurance premiums accounted for more than two-thirds of the 2021 total.

Young, brash and wrong: FINRA study profiles investing risks
Hiring in the insurance industry continued chugging forward in December, as insurance companies, brokers and related businesses added another 3,800 jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.  The hiring increase in the last month of the year matched hiring numbers in November, as the industry continued to rebound from the pandemic-driven downturn that began in 2020 (BestWire, Dec. 2, 2022). Over the course of the past 12 months, insurance hiring increased by an estimated 39,600 jobs to 2.84 million jobs, the BLS said.

Pan-American Life Insurance Group Completes Merger of Mutual Trust Life Insurance Company into Pan-American Life Insurance Company
Pan-American Life Insurance Group (PALIG), a leading provider of life, accident and health insurance throughout the Americas, today announced that it has completed the merger of Mutual Trust Life Insurance Company®, a Pan-American Life Insurance Group Stock Company, into Pan-American Life Insurance Company (PALIC) as a fully integrated division named Mutual Trust Life Solutions, effective December 31, 2022.

Best’s Special Report: Rising Interest Rates Suppress Debt Appetite for U.S. Life/Annuity Insurers
Publicly traded U.S. life/annuity (L/A) insurers are taking a more-cautious approach to issuing debt given rising interest rates, and instead have put a greater focus on strengthening their enterprise risk management, corporate governance and stress testing capabilities. according to a new AM Best special report.

Transamerica Unveils Financial Choice IUL
Transamerica announces today the availability of the Transamerica Financial Choice IULSM, a new index universal life insurance policy to protect beneficiaries while providing flexibility and opportunity for tax-advantaged supplemental income. The Transamerica Financial Choice IUL offers life insurance protection and a variety of index options and policy features to help customers maximize accumulation potential and access to cash value.

All the New Secure 2.0 and RILA Deadlines You Need to Know
The enormous new spending bill Congress has sent President Joe Biden could create a mountain of financial services law implementation work for federal agencies over the next 10 years.  The heart of the new Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (CAA, 2023) consists of appropriations provisions needed to keep the federal government running. At press time, the White House had not yet announced the signing of the bill or arrangements for a signing ceremony, but the president had expressed strong support for the bill and indicated that he would sign it.

Technology Impacting Insurance Sales Through AI Leads, Digital Sales STP, And Illustration Workflow
What’s the latest innovation in technology for insurance sales? Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be used for lead generation, lead follow-up, strategic marketing, customer retention, and client support. Leveraging AI gives you more control over the sales cycle, helping clients identify hot leads earlier and faster. Artificial intelligence is quickly becoming the most sought-after technology solutions for businesses in every industry.

Changing financial tides could hit IUL cap rates
Indexed universal life (IUL) cap rates have reached low tide, which makes long-term projections much less attractive for current and future policyholders.  It is not hyperbole to say “every IUL policy sold in the last 10 years illustrates lower today than it did when it was sold,” assuming maximum illustrative rates. Some will argue this, but that does not provide answers about the future of permanent products, including whole life, IUL and universal life (UL).

A fraud-filled 2022: Scammers and lawsuits fill the news
The year included plenty of high-profile fraud incidents and trends. COVID-19 fraud cases consistently drove strong traffic to InsuranceNewsNet.  Some of the incidents included significant settlements and impacts. Such as a May settlement by Allianz, which agreed to pay $6 billion to settle charges that its investing division defrauded clients by hiding losses and risks that led a hedge fund to collapse during the 2020 market meltdown.

DECEMBER 2022

Stellar National Holdings Launches New Life Insurance Company
Stellar National Life is being launched with a focus on becoming a fully digital issuer of annuities and a partner of choice for the U.S. independent annuity sales channel. Stellar National Life intends to offer a mix of mainstream and niche fixed annuity products designed for banking, credit union and broker dealer distribution through its platform, as well as partner with other direct issuance private credit experts. Stellar National Life’s introductory fixed interest product series for the annuity market will include three, five and seven-year non-market value adjusted annuities (“non-MVA). Over time, Stellar National Life intends to offer a no-load advisor product suite and specialty designed versions of its products for defined contribution plans.

AIG to Officially Shut Unit That Failed in Financial Crisis
AIG announced today that the unit has filed a voluntary petition for chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware, as a way to close for good. Back in 2008, the woes of AIGFP, as it is known, caused its parent to teeter on the edge of bankruptcy.

NAIC regulators decline to move life illustration rework forward
A state insurance task force passed on a chance to endorse reopening the overall life insurance illustration model law, leaving the effort in limbo going forward.  The Life Actuarial Task Force met last week during the fall meeting of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. During its two-day meeting, the panel declined to refer opening the life insurance illustrations model to its parent A Committee, or refer it to another group with expertise in illustrations, an NAIC spokesman said. 

DOL receives nearly 50k comments on independent contractor rule
The DOL independent contractor proposal would make it harder for companies to treat workers as independent contractors, potentially upending several industries, including financial services. Controversy continues to follow the rule proposals, which affect various industries in different ways.

Why High-Net-Worth Investors Are Paying More Attention to Annuities
Wealthy investors are wising up to the unique benefits of annuities. While these insurance-sold investment products are known as tools for turning savings into lifetime income, they are increasingly capturing the attention of high-net-worth investors as a way to maximize after-tax gains, leave more to heirs, offset the impact of inflation, and stabilize portfolios during a highly volatile time.

The Millennials Are Getting Older: Sammons Life Executive
Jerry Blair wants to see consumers who are young today get life insurance today.  Blair is president of the Sammons Life Insurance Group, the life insurance arm of Sammons Financial Group.  He entered the world of financial services through a job in a men’s clothing store more than 30 years ago, by selling a suit. The buyer turned out to be a new Prudential district manager. He called the store a few days and asked Blair to meet with a Prudential sales manager.

Top 10 Life and Annuity Deals of 2022, So Far
COVID-19, rising interest rates, a war in Europe and accounting rule change shock have put the brakes on U.S. life and annuity issuer dealmaking so far this year.  At press time, life and annuity issuers had not published the values of any large, conventional mergers or acquisitions.

LIMRA: Life combo products provide more options as LTCi market slows
As the market for long-term-care insurance (LTCI) slows, the need for life insurance combination products appears to be increasing, giving agents an opportunity to provide their clients with the LTC coverage they need, according to Alison Salka, senior vice president and head of LIMRA Research. LTCI sales remain low for a variety of reasons, Salka said. Many carriers underestimated the cost of the product, and claim losses exceeded expectations. This led to profitability issues that led a number of carriers to exit the market.

10 Questions Your Clients Are Asking Google About Life Insurance
Google wants to sell your clients everything.  Alphabet’s web search service recently rolled out a new flight search tool. It seems to make yet another major effort in health insurance every few weeks or so.  One sign of Google’s interest in your clients: When clients start to type in questions about life insurance, the search engine offers suggestions for completing the sentences.

Matt McAvoy Recognized with the 2022 Douglas Mooers Award for Excellence
NAILBA's most coveted and prestigious accolade, the Douglas Mooers Award for Excellence, was presented to Matt McAvoy at NAILBA’s 41st annual meeting in Dallas, TX. 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. McAvoy currently serves as Principal, Great Plains Divisional President for Ash Brokerage. 

Indexed, Multiyear Guaranteed Annuity Sales Rise In Q3
Sales for annuities were a mixed bag for the third quarter of 2022, but multiyear guaranteed annuities and indexed annuities saw remarkable gains, according to a report by Wink Intelligence, an insurance industry data reporting organization based in Des Moines, Iowa. 

Wolters Kluwer identifies top compliance challenges for U.S. insurers
The U.S. insurance industry’s top market conduct compliance challenges continue to relate to various claims handling requirements, including timeliness, required disclosures, along with payments and grievance and appeal processes—as well as underwriting, rating, marketing and producer requirements. This annual, comprehensive review by Wolters Kluwer Compliance Solutions of U.S. insurers’ market conduct enforcement actions is based on public regulatory data from 2021, examining the market conduct actions of U.S. property and casualty, life, and health insurers, including exams and other enforcement actions.

2022 Industry Update Archive  2021 Industry Update Archive