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JULY 2019 » VOLUME 12, NUMBER 7
36 W hy We Should Rethink Joint Payout Elections
Hall Of Fame, Fall Of Shame By John Hilton
More professional athletes are having the money conversation with financial experts as they try to avoid making the mistakes that doomed other sports figures to financial ruin.
6 Laws, Regulation Target Insurance Products By Susan Rupe, John Hilton and Cassie Miller Industry lobbyists are tallying long hours tracking various regulatory and legislative efforts that threaten to substantially change the sale of insurance products.
IN THE FIELD 16 I t’s A Process
By Susan Rupe Mark Acre shares the secrets of how his organizational and problemsolving skills led him to create what he called the Walmart of insurance and financial services.
By Niju Vaswani How to help married clients receive more income for life.
40 Support Your Clients, Their Workers Through Stress Relief By Michelle White Stressed-out employees are less productive and less engaged. How the right workplace benefits can ease some of their financial pain.
46 Variable Universal Life: Evolving To Solve A Variety Of Client Needs By Charles Arnold With a number of subaccount investment options to choose from, VUL allows a custom portfolio to be built within an insurance wrapper.
50 Let’s Keep In Touch: Maintaining Relationships Is An Investment
INTERVIEW 8 Tough Stuff
Travis Mills was taught to never give up as he pursued sports and later entered the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne. But after a bomb in Afghanistan left him a quadruple amputee, he wondered why he should go on. In this interview with Publisher Paul Feldman, Travis describes how he found a new purpose in his life through the insurance business.
By Bryce Sanders It’s easy to get caught up in the “busyness” of life, but it’s also easy to keep relationships from growing cold.
32 When A Simple ‘Thank You’ Keeps Your Best People Close By Steven A. Morelli A marketer came up with the idea for the perfect gift to show their employees how much they are appreciated.
52 Close More Sales By Not Selling
By Chris Jarvis By changing your focus from sales to education, you become valuable.
275 Grandview Ave., Suite 100, Camp Hill, PA 17011 717.441.9357 www.InsuranceNewsNet.com PUBLISHER Paul Feldman EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Steven A. Morelli MANAGING EDITOR Susan Rupe SENIOR EDITOR John Hilton ADVISORNEWS MANAGING EDITOR Cassie Miller VP MARKETING Katie Frazier
SENIOR CONTENT STRATEGIST AD COPYWRITER AD COPYWRITER CREATIVE DIRECTOR SENIOR MULTIMEDIA DESIGNER GRAPHIC DESIGNER QUALITY MANAGER
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Ashley McHugh Tim Mader Samantha Winters David Shanks Steven Haines Elizabeth Nady
Copyright 2019 InsuranceNewsNet.com. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use without permission of editorial or graphic content in any manner is strictly prohibited. How to Reach Us: You may e-mail editor@ insurancenewsnet.com, send your letter to 275 Grandview Ave., Suite 100, Camp Hill, PA 17011, fax 866.381.8630 or call 717.441.9357. Reprints: Copyright permission can be obtained through InsuranceNewsNet at 717.441.9357, Ext. 115, or email@example.com. Editorial Inquiries: You may e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 717.441.9357, ext. 117. Advertising Inquiries: To access InsuranceNewsNet Magazine’s online media kit, go to www.innmediakit.com or call 717.441.9357, Ext. 115, for a sales representative. Postmaster: Send address changes to InsuranceNewsNet Magazine, 275 Grandview Ave., Suite 100, Camp Hill, PA 17011. Please allow four weeks for completion of changes. Legal Disclaimer: This publication contains general financial information. It should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional financial or legal advice. We make every effort to offer accurate information, but errors may occur due to the nature of the subject matter and our interpretation of any laws and regulations involved. We provide this information as is, without warranties of any kind, either express or implied. InsuranceNewsNet shall not be liable regardless of the cause or duration for any errors, inaccuracies, omissions or other defects in, or untimeliness or inauthenticity of, the information published herein.
2 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine » July 2019
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WELCOME LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Learning To See
hen people meet me, they might sense something a little weird. OK, a lot weird. One key thing is, I don’t hear perfectly. I have worn hearing aids since I was 3, but the latest models are small enough to escape notice. At some point after I meet people, I might mention I am hearing-impaired, particularly in noisy situations. The other thing is also not immediately detectable. In fact, most people never realize this one: I am blind. I mean I am legally blind. I have tunnel vision that has reduced the range that I can see to about 15 degrees. Less than 20 degrees is considered legally blind in most jurisdictions. To put that in perspective, you probably have 180 to 210 degrees of vision. That means if you looked straight ahead and stuck your arms out from your sides, you would see your hands, 180 degrees from one to the other. You might even see a little behind them, which would be as much as 210 degrees. If I held my arms straight out in front of me as if I were holding a basketball and stared at a spot between them, I could not see either thumb clearly. That means I am usually scanning my immediate environment, which I suspect leads many people to think, “OK, there’s something squirrelly about that guy.” And my lack of peripheral vision often leaves me just standing there while someone is trying to shake my hand, probably prompting the thought, “Oh, weird AND rude — that’s a winning combo!” I have retinitis pigmentosa, a condition that causes a progressive tunnel vision that slowly closes the aperture of vision. Some versions of this progress more slowly than others. I am lucky to have a slow version. Some people go completely blind while they are still children. It is inherited and incurable. When the condition is accompanied by hearing impairment, it is called Usher syndrome. The first symptoms, besides hearing loss, are night blindness and inability to see stars. 4 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine » July 2019
Many polls show that going blind is the thing people fear most. It used to be mine. But you might have noticed that I called myself lucky two paragraphs back. Lucky because of my perspective. I was reminded of that by Travis Mills, who was interviewed by Publisher Paul Feldman for this edition. Although Travis is by nature an optimistic, happy guy, his disposition was severely tested after his arms and legs were blown off in Afghanistan.
Travis could not see the point of living, even though he had a wife and a baby girl. But all he could see was his uselessness and shame. He had been a star athlete in high school and a mountain of a man who powered his way to the rank of staff sergeant. But after the explosion, he could not even wipe his own butt. That was one of the worst indignities driving him into depression early in his recovery, as he described in the book Tough As They Come. This was after he endured searing pain radiating from nerves severed by missing limbs. The agony was bad enough that doctors put him into a ketamine coma for several days to try resetting his pain tolerance. His caregivers and family did not know if he would emerge sane or even lucid. He came out of it, and saw his condition all too clearly. But then he witnessed what he thought might have been a hallucination left over from the coma — a man who walked into his hospital room on prosthetic legs, got Travis a can of soda and opened it with prosthetic arms. But this was no dream. He was Marine Cpl. Todd Nicely, the second surviving quadruple-amputee from the post-9/11 wars. Todd told Travis that he was quad No. 4 and assured him that life would get better. Just as the coma reset his pain tolerance, Todd reset Travis’ perspective. Travis now calls himself a recalibrated warrior, living a full life as an example for everyone else.
Light From Darkness
I had some moments like that. Over the years, I have met people with my condition
who lived “normal” lives. But it was only a few years ago that I had my own perspective reset. It was at an Usher Syndrome Coalition conference during a panel discussion. I had watched the panelists feel their way to their seats. They were all completely blind, about my age and younger. I started to regret attending this session. They then surprised me by saying that their lives had gotten better once they had lost all their sight. They had lived in terror of the screen going black, but once it did, they found another world had opened. You can get a sense of this the next time you are sitting in a busy environment. Close your eyes and just listen. After a while, the sounds will project a picture of the environment in your mind. It is like hearing a really engaging radio story from which you build the images from the words and sounds. The paradox is that the perspective is hard to see when you are focused on looking. One of the panelists all but yelled at us: “What are you waiting for? You have lives to live!” Soon after, at another conference devoted to retinal disorders, as I sat in the lobby of a hotel before the sessions, I saw a toddler running with his dad trailing in hot pursuit. The diapered boy laughed as he tapped in front of him with his cane, as naturally as if it were just any other appendage. I couldn’t help but smile, but a person I was sitting with turned back in tears. She had late onset retinitis pigmentosa, which usually features rapid deterioration. She was still grieving. That grief does not end until acceptance melts it away. She saw that I was smiling and I said, “It took me a long time to learn to be like that again. I promise you, you’ll get that back, too.” Everybody has something they are struggling through. If you have already been through the journey, you can be the one to help light someone else’s way. Steven A. Morelli Editor-in-Chief
rookstone Capital Management has had the same goal since its inception in 2006: to be the premier RIA platform in the independent insurance space. But they are fast-becoming the most sought-after RIA in the entire industry. Advisors and insurance agents across the country are taking notice of Brookstone’s complete advisory solution and aligning their practice with this industry leader. Over the past three years alone, Brookstone has seen a 35% increase in affiliated advisors, and that momentum isn’t showing signs of slowing down. In fact, as a comprehensive Turnkey Asset Management Platform (TAMP), their reach has expanded to provide advisory solutions to other full-service RIA firms and the broker/dealer channel. With the ability to support so many practices that vary in size, experience and demand, it’s no surprise that Brookstone has been the popular destination when looking for AUM growth. With affiliated advisors and firms in more than 40 states, founder and CEO Dean Zayed looks back at the exponential growth throughout the years. “From the very beginning, I wanted to help advisors become the most enhanced asset gatherers possible. I knew the answer was not only a robust platform, but also one that would constantly evolve in this ever-changing industry,” he said. “Anticipating the needs of advisors is always at the forefront of my mind,” he continued, “We are not building a platform for Brookstone; we are building a platform for advisors. The key is understanding and providing the tools they
want instead of doing what we think is best for them. When you listen to your advisors and treat them like business partners, you are creating a recipe for success and growth.” ADVISORS HAVE TAKEN NOTICE In an industry full of choices, advisors are leaning toward an all-inclusive approach more than ever before. Brookstone has delivered on so many levels and there is no sign of stopping. Darryl Ronconi, Brookstone’s Chief Operating Officer, has been instrumental in building a service and technology infrastructure that makes conducting advisory business virtually effortless. “We are in an environment where technology drives our everyday lives. Advisors want to spend less time on paperwork, and more time with prospects and clients.” Ronconi continues, “We have created our own cutting-edge solution that gives the advisor the ability to digitally interact with Brookstone from the initial account opening throughout the entire service life of the client. Our pulse is on today’s digital world, and we will be constantly upgrading to meet tomorrow’s needs.” The landscape of the investment world has also changed. While many firms are unwilling to stray from the core philosophy they adopted many years ago, Brookstone understands that advisors must be relevant in all market conditions. The flexibility and adaptability of the Brookstone investment platform is a considerable reason for advisors electing to make a change.
“Our platform is designed to accommodate and support today’s dynamic advisor marketplace,” says Mark DiOrio, Chief Investment Officer. “We truly supply an all-weather platform that focuses on six diverse concepts — passive, active, strategic, tactical, brand name and boutique.” Another way Brookstone differentiates itself is by embracing an open architecture approach that gives advisors the freedom to customize. “With our support and due diligence, advisors have the option to choose from the entire investment universe and create portfolios that are unique to their firm and client needs,” DiOrio explained. The latest resource from Zayed for his growing advisor network has been the creation of Brookstone Insurance Group. Knowing that Brookstone has always been at the intersection of insurance and fee-based money management, it made sense to provide this solution to support his all-inclusive approach. “We essentially created a new business model that fully integrates the world of advisory services with fixed indexed annuities and insurance,” said Zayed. “The idea is to provide a solution for the advisor who wants to conduct all of their business in one place, and with a firm that has paved the way for innovation,” he added. Innovation has been key for Brookstone and one of the main reasons for the growing number of advisors who are aligning their practice with this industry leader. As Brookstone looks towards the future, Zayed sums it up best: “We will never be status quo, and our advisors don’t expect us to be!”
Laws, Regulation Target Insurance Products There’s no such thing as summer vacation from laws and regulations that affect the insurance industry. By Susan Rupe, John Hilton and Cassie Miller
ndustry lobbyists are tallying long hours tracking regulatory and legislative efforts that threaten to substantially change the sale of insurance products. Rule changes are advancing on three fronts: » The Securities and Exchange Commission approved Regulation Best Interest, a standard of conduct for brokers, by a 3-1 vote. » Two National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ working groups are inching toward changes to rein in illustrations.
The timing is about all the two pieces of legislation have in common. The final version of Reg BI is a whopping 771-page tome, noticeably longer than the proposal, of precedence, interpretation and justification for omissions and changes. Takeaways from the legislation: 1. There’s still no definition of “best interest” — Noticeably missing from the proposed rule, the SEC has chosen not to include a definition of the phrase in its final rule, either. 2. Title reform dropped — the final rule omitted a section of the proposed rule restricting the use of adviser/advisor. 3. Maintains distinction — while the changes embrace some of the fundamentals of a fiduciary standard for broker-dealers, the rule maintains separate standards for investment advisors and broker-dealers. Since the defeat of the DOL rule, states
implementation of the adopted rules.
Illustrations An Issue
When the NAIC created Actuarial Guideline 49 in 2015, insurers were not offering indexed universal life with “multipliers” and “bonuses.” Critics say these options were quickly created to get around AG 49. AG 49 was developed to provide insurance carriers a more uniform method for calculating maximum illustrated rates on IUL products and to help consumers better understand indexed life insurance product illustrations. AG 49 states that: “If an insurer engages in a hedging program for index-based interest, the assumed earned interest rate underlying the disciplined current scale shall not exceed 145% of the annual net investment earnings rate.” The multipliers and bonuses are just the natural “innovation” of the industry, said Scott R. Harrison, who represents insurers such as Lincoln Financial and
Since AG 49, we’ve now seen products developed specifically for the purpose of juicing the illustrations ... That’s what I call ‘gaming the system.’
» A Senate bill would require health benefits brokers to disclose their commissions and other incentives they receive.
SEC Rule: Bold Or Feckless?
Regulation Best Interest, a three-part rulemaking package aimed to establish a standard of conduct for broker-dealers, will better protect investors, the SEC said. The newly adopted rule comes just one year after the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule was vacated. 6 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine » July 2019
such as New York and Nevada have enacted their own fiduciary rules. The SEC declined to say during the vote if the federal Reg BI rule would preempt those enacted by state legislatures, pointing to judicial proceedings to determine the future of the state-enacted laws. For firms worried about transitioning to a Reg BI-compliant world, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said in his opening remarks of the vote, the SEC will establish committees to assist firms with the
Pacific Life, during a recent conference call. That prompted a sharp response from Birny Birnbaum, executive director of the Center for Economic Justice. “Since AG 49, we’ve now seen products developed specifically for the purpose of juicing the illustrations,” he said. “That’s not what I call being ‘innovative.’ That’s what I call ‘gaming the system.’” The IUL Illustration Subgroup accepted comments on four questions through June 28. Regulators hinted that opening the
LAWS, REGULATION TARGET INSURANCE PRODUCTS INFRONT overall life insurance illustration model law is on the table, which would likely be a lengthy and acrimonious process. A second subgroup — the Annuity Disclosure Working Group — is concerned that consumers are being misled by unrealistic indexed annuity illustrations. It is studying a proposal to double
of more than 100 — the Form 5500 requirement. Also, often when they’re working with the larger groups, plan agreements are pages and pages long and include everything that goes into that plan detail. Compensation disclosure is part of that. And certain states have required disclosures.”
Lowering health care costs is what we want for our clients. But how can anybody point the arrow toward our members and say we’re part of the problem?
the time indexes must be in existence to be used in annuity illustrations from 10 to 20 years. The index illustration issue rose in importance as many insurers developed their own proprietary indices in recent years to respond to the popularity of indexed annuities with cautious clients. These indices rely on other indexes to create a hypothetical historical record of return. Industry representatives say the 20year requirement would eliminate about 70% of the indexes being used. “It’s not clear to us how we would manage that disruption,” said Jason Berkowitz, chief legal and regulatory affairs officer for the Insured Retirement Institute, during a June conference call. The working groups are up against a deadline with the NAIC Summer Meeting set to begin Aug. 3 in New York City.
drug prices and public health problems. Buried in the bill is a requirement that health benefits brokers reveal fees and other enticements they receive from the insurance industry. Representatives of two health agents associations said they are in favor of transparency, but questioned how forc-
Health insurance broker commissions have been disappearing since the Affordable Care Act went into effect. But apparently that’s not enough to satisfy lawmakers. Now a Senate bill includes a provision that would require health benefits brokers to disclose their commissions and other incentives they receive from the insurance industry. The Lower Health Care Costs Act was introduced by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. The bill takes aim at a number of issues, including surprise medical bills, high
ing brokers to do even more disclosure would bring down the cost of health care. “It’s really appalling because our members have been fighting to get paid,” said Ronnell Nolan, CEO of Health Agents for America. “And that bill is important. Lowering health care costs is what we want for our clients. But how can anybody point the arrow toward our members and say we’re part of the problem? We’re not part of the problem. Agents have been losing money since the passage of the ACA.” She cited research from Louisiana Insurance Commissioner James Donelon that showed broker commissions made up about 5% of insurance carriers’ total spending prior to the ACA. “And we know it’s gone way down since then,” she added. Nolan said her group is asking Alexander to remove that provision from the bill. The National Association of Health Underwriters has not taken an official position on the bill, but the association “is definitely in favor of transparency of costs on all levels, including broker compensation,” said Marcy Buckner, vice president of government affairs. However, she added, NAHU is concerned that the provision duplicates broker compensation disclosures that are already in effect. “Our members are questioning what else is possible for them to be required to disclose. They are already subject to disclosure in the group market for groups
Despite the disclosure provision, Buckner said, NAHU is positive about some aspects of the bill. The bill takes aim at surprise medical costs and high drug prices, which she said will bring down health care costs for consumers. AdvisorNews Managing Editor Cassie Miller may be reached at cassie. email@example.com. Cassie has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. Follow her on Twitter @ANCassieM. Susan Rupe is managing editor for Insurance N ewsN et . She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents’ association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact her atSusan. Rupe@innfeedback.com. Follow her on Twitter @INNsusan. InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton has covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at john.hilton@innfeedback. com. Follow him on Twitter @INNJohnH.
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TOUGH STU How Travis Mills rebuilt his life as a quadruple amputee by helping others An interview with Paul Feldman
8 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine Â» July 2019
taff Sgt. Travis Mills was lying on a stretcher in a helicopter just minutes after his arms and legs were blown off by a buried bomb in Afghanistan, almost certain he was going to die. He did not know if he would see his wife and baby daughter again. He did not know if he even wanted to live. Then he turned his head toward one of his wounded men, who was screaming and writhing in pain. Mills smiled and winked to let him know everything was going to be OK. That’s who he is. Lying on the ground after a bomb blew up next to him, Mills
TOUGH STUFF INTERVIEW Little by little, he rebuilt himself from the inside out, eventually becoming one of only five quadruple amputees from the Iraq and Afghan wars to survive. People can read his story in his book Tough As They Come or watch it in the movie Travis: A Soldier’s Story on Netflix. Or they might be lucky enough to hear him tell it on stage during one of his many speaking engagements. He and his wife Kelsey created the Travis Mills Foundation, which treats post-9/11 veterans who were injured on duty to “an all-inclusive, all-expenses paid, barrier-free vacation to Maine where they participate in adaptive activities, bond with other veteran families, and
At the very beginning, I was definitely angry. I was questioning, “Am I a bad person? Why did this happen?” At the end of the day, you can’t change it, so might as well just push forward and make the best of it. was already aware that all his limbs were blown off, but he told his medic to make sure his men were OK. But in the following months, he did not know if he would be OK. Although he had been trained by his parents, coaches and the U.S. Army to never give up, he was not sure why he should go on. He had been a star in baseball, basketball and football back in high school in Michigan, entered the 82nd Airborne at 6 foot-3 inches, 250 pounds, capable of lifting 550 pounds for a total of 11 sets of 10 squats. Now he didn’t know what he was. Besides the searing pain that comes with severed limbs, the guilt and anxiety about the future dragged him into the deepest despair. The man who could smile through agony was buried under the trauma. He would later tell his wife she should leave him. She told him he was being ridiculous.
enjoy much-needed rest and relaxation in Maine’s great outdoors.” Mills also is involved with Combined Benefits United to promote insurance benefits that help families cope with traumatic events. In this interview with InsuranceNewsNet Publisher Paul Feldman, Mills tells how he got through his own trauma and what he can tell others about resilience. FELDMAN: In your book and documentary, the thing that comes across most is your positive attitude throughout your life. You focus on other people. Like for example, even though you had just gone through this explosion and you’re on the helicopter, you turn to your friend and you smile. MILLS: Yeah, well, he was freaking out. He had every right to freak out. But for me July 2019 » InsuranceNewsNet Magazine 9
INTERVIEW TOUGH STUFF I was just like, “It’s going to be OK. Calm down.” At the end of the day, it was in the doctor’s hands. So I wasn’t going to show any fear and I figured whatever happens, happens and let’s make the best of it. FELDMAN: What’s your secret to maintaining that positive attitude? MILLS: I think the secret to me maintaining that positive attitude was, I’m not going to be able to change the fact of what happened, I might as well make the best of it. And I have my wife and my daughter on my side. And we always live as normal a life as possible. And luckily, we’ve been able to welcome a new son into the world, so we have two kids now. But if you really strip it down, I still have so much life to live when a lot of my buddies are no longer with me. And they left behind wives and children. I’m never going to let them down. So, I might as well be as positive as possible because what’s the point of living angry when I can’t change what happened? FELDMAN: Were you angry at times? MILLS: Oh yeah. At the very beginning, I was definitely angry. I was questioning, “Am I a bad person? Why did this happen?” I told my wife she should leave me. She just said she’s going to stay. I also was saying to myself, “Why didn’t I just die? How is this even better?” At the end of the day, you can’t change it, so might as well just push forward and make the best of it. I’ve been trying to be a positive role model for anybody. Not just in the military, but anybody who is in a bad situation. With my foundation, my story is out there to where people will follow me on Facebook just to find out what I’m up to and how I’m staying positive. Like for the Super Bowl, we’re in New England, so my kids wore Patriots stuff. I had a Patriots jersey on. I’m a Lions fan first but my kids were dancing around. My daughter’s 7, my son’s 17 months old. They’re running around the house, dancing, having a good time. That’s why I put it on Facebook. People love it because I live an everyday normal life and I don’t want this to get in my way. 10 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine » July 2019
FELDMAN: What has been your biggest lesson in civilian life? MILLS: I don’t dwell on the past. I don’t feel sorry for myself. I don’t sit there and complain. I don’t wonder why this happened anymore. I don’t question if God hates me. Best thing is just look forward and be positive. For me, I’m fortunate my buddy and I bought a marina. My mom and dad moved from Michigan to Maine to run it for me. It’s two miles from my house. Then we also were fortunate to write a book called Tough As They Come. It’s a New York Times bestseller and potentially is going to be made into a motion picture. And now, luckily, I’ve been able to get into this insurance business at the right time and understand that it’s a very important market. It’s an untouched market. This is where you can take care of your family and know you’re supporting other people in a healthy lifestyle to make sure they’re taken care of as well. I’m all about the win-win. I don’t do things that aren’t win to win. I had been speaking as a motivational speaker for about three years. I spoke for a company called CBU, which is Combined Benefits United, and I happen to know the owners from living in Maine. I didn’t know much about what to do for work. They hired me to come speak and I thought it would be a fun time to just go and address the crowd. Then they were talking about supplemental with CBU and I thought, “Man, this is awesome.” I was hearing more about how if people have an accident, they are covered by their insurance, but they’re not covered for the work they had to take off or unforeseen medical expenses. And that’s where the supplemental side comes in. I also thought since a lot of people were getting off the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, that this will be a great substitute. I became a spokesperson and actually go to events and talk about being protected from things that you can’t really see coming, and it’s worked out great. I feel like we are protecting people.
TOUGH STUFF INTERVIEW You can get a coverage plan that’s $3.80 a week for a cancer plan. So that’s maybe a Starbucks coffee. If something happens, you’re going to get money to help with your bills, to help with your house payments, to help with paying somebody to take care of things. It was kind of a weird but good fit — never would’ve seen it coming. When I was in the military, I didn’t think I was going to be selling insurance someday. But now, it just happened to go together. FELDMAN: Did you and your family have financial difficulty after your injuries or did the military take care of all of it? MILLS: Because of the military, I didn’t have to suffer through anything financially. There are some guys who suffer when they get injured because they take their money and do stupid things with it but you can’t fix stupid. But, my wife and I were taken care of very well. They have a payment they give you for each limb. I was able to take that and reinvest it into what I’ve created today. I bought a few houses and my marina. I took it head-on to make it as successful for me as I could. FELDMAN: You have a lot of will power and a lot of energy. What can you tell somebody else about how to power through a very difficult time like you faced? MILLS: I think it’s all about finding a way to look at it and understanding. My wife’s aunt had cancer and I am close to her. I gave her a call and said, “Well, Patty, I think you need to know the worst part’s over. You got the diagnosis and all we can do now is try to get better. We can just figure out what it’s going to take to get better.” And she luckily did recover, she’s cancer-free. I think people dwell too much. I think you get the bad news like “Oh, my gosh.” But I say, “Hey, look, you got the news. Time’s not going to stop.” Like for instance, when I was blown up on the ground, I knew for a fact that nothing’s going to change with me freaking out. So instead of me freaking out and saying why did his happen, and being scared, I just decided that whatever
I hope people understand that this isn’t fear-mongering that we’re doing. We’re not trying to scare people into buying this insurance. happens, happens. Kind of like the Carrie Underwood “Jesus Take the Wheel” song, right? And I made sure I just kept a cool-level head. And my medic ran up, I told him to just save my guys and calm down and it was going to be OK. FELDMAN: If you could just say anything to the insurance industry, what would it be? MILLS: I hope people understand that this isn’t fear-mongering that we’re doing. We’re not trying to scare people into buying this insurance. We’re trying to say, “Hey, this is a way for you to be protected in case you have to stay in the hospital or you have to take a week of work off, or you have to do something that you didn’t see coming.” Your health bills are paid by your insurance but the house payment is not going to get taken care of if you can’t go to work and make income. In this way, if you take a week or two of work off that’s
unpaid, you’re covered. It’s just about how you present it. It’s making sure people understand that it’s in their best interest and it’s not that we’re trying to be conniving or we’re trying to be sneaky. But I think we’re just trying to say deductibles have increased substantially in the past couple of years to where they are almost unaffordable. There’s a study out there that says if an average American had to write a $400 check today, about 30% wouldn’t have the ability to take $400 out of their budget. It’s a staggering fact. Consider a mortgage like my house mortgage when I was in North Carolina, at Fort Bragg, was $1,200 a month. I was living paycheck to paycheck. But I worked for the government, so it was kind of a guarantee that I was going to get paid as long as I didn’t get kicked out of military. But I wouldn’t have been able to write a $1,200 mortgage check right there on the spot to cover me if I had to take a month off of work because of an injury. July 2019 » InsuranceNewsNet Magazine 11
Unemployment Rates Setting Records If it seems as though you are seeing
more “help wanted” signs than ever before, you aren’t imagining things. Three states just set all-time records in their low jobless rates in April. Vermont, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are leading the race to the bottom as unemployment rates hit record lows. Vermont’s 2.2% jobless rate is a record for that state, as well as the lowest unemployment rate in the nation. Wisconsin set its own record at 2.8% and Pennsylvania also hit a historic low at 3.8%. These low numbers hit the same month as the nation’s unemployment rate fell to 3.6%, its lowest since December 1969.
YOUNG ADULTS’ NET WORTH TAKES A DIVE
Americans ages 18-35 are seeing their expenses go up while their incomes are staying the same. The result? The net worth of the average member of that age group has dropped 34% since 1996, according to a Deloitte report. The group's average net worth is now below $8,000, putting today's millennials in a worse financial position than previous generations. Deloitte found that this age cohort is paying more for education, food, transportation and other basic needs, but their incomes are not keeping pace. The study found that many Americans age 18-35 often put off making larger purchases such as homes or automobiles because of financial pressure and a lack of available income.
Hmm, not today...
TRADE WARS COST THE MARKET $5T
Trade wars between the U.S. and trading partners China and Mexico are carrying a hefty price tag in the stock market, Deutsche Bank said. The battle of tariffs cost the U.S. stock market $5 trillion and that number continues to tick upward, the bank said.
The bulk of equity returns come from equity price appreciation, so as the trade war with China and Mexico continues to escalate, the U.S. is losing trillions of dollars in foregone returns as markets decline over the negative news, the bank said. “The costs of the trade war in our view are about its indirect impacts,” said Deutsche Bank chief strategist Binky Chadha in a note to clients.
The IRS is about to release a new Form W-4 for use in 2020. Source: CNBC
14 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine » July 2019
There are areas where our current retirement system could use improvement. — Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Senate Finance Committee chairman
‘ZOMBIE’ RULE MUST STAY DEAD
While there is plenty of regulatory rumblings on several fronts, the Department of Labor is not reviving the dreaded fiduciary rule, a National Association for Fixed Annuities spokeswoman said.
Instead, the DOL is most certainly working on a rule that will in some way coordinate with rules being finalized by the Securities and Exchange Commission, explained Pam Heinrich, NAFA general counsel. But the trade association needs to remain vigilant when it comes to the fiduciary rule ideas, she said. Comparing the DOL rule to "a zombie," she added, "we've got to keep it dead."
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A Visit With Agents of Change
It ’s A
s s e c o Pr
Mark Acre breaks down the elements that add up to a successful practice. BY SUSAN RUPE 16 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine » July 2019
IT’S A PROCESS IN THE FIELD
f you ask Mark Acre what he will be doing at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow or at 3 p.m. Monday, he will have a quick answer for you. Acre has time management down to a science, part of his mastery of processes that go into the making of a successful financial services practice. He uses the app Habitify to break down his day into 15-minute increments and tells him what to get done and by what time to get it done. At the end of the day, the app Hubspot asks him what he did today and what his plan is for tomorrow. He is the owner of OneSource Insurance Group in Ozark, Mo., a practice he described as the Walmart of financial services, insurance, real estate and tax services. “We have 19 insurance and financial advisors specializing in different categories,” he said. “And then we have two people who do taxes and 13 real estate agents.” A thriving practice, Acre said, boils down to three things: effort, performance and plan. And creating processes around all three of these things ensures accountability and a greater likelihood of success. “When I think problem, I think process,” he said. “I look at the problem and then I identify the process to fix it.” Acre, 38, has spent much of his time mentoring other young advisors, helping them get their business plans in order and nudging them toward adopting the right processes to solve whatever problems crop up in their practices. Acre’s work on behalf of the industry earned him the honor of Young Advisor Team Leader of the Year for 2014 from the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. “I ask the advisors I work with, if you’re seeing part of your sales cycle fail — if you’re having trouble setting the appointments or you’re having trouble getting your prospect to commit — what processes are you putting into place to make sure you don’t have those problems in your sales cycle?” he said. “Make it about your own problem and process. Make it very objective. It’s not about how I feel or how you feel or how the client feels; it’s about objective numbers and statistics and facts.”
Leading At A Young Age
After Acre graduated from Missouri State University, he worked in the business office
at Mercy Hospital, Springfield, Mo. But he soon realized that job wasn’t for him and posted his resume to some employment websites. It wasn’t long before the insurance industry came recruiting and he had offers from a few companies. “I felt the appeal of advising consumers on their insurance and financial services drew me into the industry as a whole,” he said. After interviewing at three or four companies, he chose the one that had the mentors he thought would be best to help him start his career. That company was Torchmark, parent company of Global Life and Accident, American Income Life, Liberty National and United American Insurance. Acre started out selling life insurance and Medicare supplements, later branching into worksite products such as life, cancer, critical illness and accident insurance. That first year was difficult. “It took a lot of mentorship and accountability from my leaders,” he said. But he had people looking out for him. Mickey Tolliver was the branch manager who hired him, and became a long-time mentor. Mickey’s son, Travis, was Acre’s unit manager. “I learned self-discipline at a young age quickly,” Acre recalled. “You have to get on the phone; you have to set the appointments; you have to go through the process they teach you. Trying to find shortcuts and doing it the easy way doesn’t work. That’s why there’s an 18% success rate in the first year for insurance and financial services advisors in this country. Only about one in five make it. Most of the time it’s probably because they want to do it their way and not the way their mentor is teaching them.” That is when the power of processes became clear. “It was a huge learning curve, but once I figured it out, I learned it’s all about repeatable processes,” he said. “It’s about people and taking care of the consumer and advising them correctly.” Acre ended his first year as one of Torchmark’s Top 20 agents, and he moved into management. At age 26, he was Torchmark’s youngest director in history, managing 15 branches and 900 agents between Charlotte and Los Angeles. He flew out of Springfield every Monday, spending a week at each branch July 2019 » InsuranceNewsNet Magazine 17
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IN THE FIELD IT’S A PROCESS
vacuuming needs.’ I thought that would be a good name for an insurance company — OneSource.” Acre started his company in 2007 and set out to make it the one source for everyone’s insurance and financial needs. Today, he and his team produce more than $10 million in anMark Acre was part of a team of 13 men who reached the nual premium and have top of Mount Kilimanjaro in 2014 and raised $40,000 for $45 million in assets unthe organization Man Up And Go. der management. before flying home on Friday. He started out offering life and health “All the branch managers were old- insurance and Medicare products. From er than me but some of the agents were there, he branched out, offering property/ younger,” he said. “It was a good mix.” casualty insurance and retirement planAcre said he quickly learned to listen ning services. Next was the addition of well and ask the right questions as he tax preparation services, and then the real worked with branch managers and agents. estate agents joined the business. “I didn’t go in and start saying you need Acre spends time traveling around the to recruit better because your recruiting country talking to young advisors as part numbers stink, or your sales numbers of his work with NAIFA’s Young Advisor stink and this is what you need to do to Team. He continues to emphasize the imfix it,” he said. “I don’t care whether you’re portance of finding effective ways to serve 26 or 56, it would still be best to go in and their clients and run their practices. ask questions about what their pain points “I tell them an old saying my grandfawere, how I could help them.” ther told me: ‘Smart people learn from At one point during his time in man- their mistakes; wise people learn from agement, he helped salvage the career of the mistakes of others,’” he said. “I tell an agent who was convinced her move to them, you’re going to make mistakes, and the insurance business had ruined her. you can get smart from messing up and “In Charlotte, an agent came in and getting better from those mistakes. But said the branch manager ruined her life,” watching those who have gone before us Acre recalled. “He talked her into leav- and listening to them tell us what haping a $40,000-a-year job to take a com- pened and what they did to create that mission-only job and she wasn’t making failure hopefully helps you not create that it. I spent hours with her that day, just failure in your own practice.” talking through her business plan, talking Acre is a graduate of NAIFA’s Leadership through her processes, talking about what in Life Institute, and the program made she had been taught in the agency. I don’t such an impact on his life that he hired the take credit for this but I’ll say she ended LILI moderator for Missouri, Deb Coulter, up being a great agent and promoted into as a producer in his practice. management. She just hadn’t been given When Acre was her LILI student, the opportunity to be heard and I listened.” Coulter said, he impressed her with his preparation, his motivation and his focus On His Own on building his practice. Af ter three years of traveling to Acre goes above and beyond to create Torchmark’s branch offices week in and a positive workplace environment for his week out, Acre wanted to settle down agents, Coulter said. “We have our Monday with his wife and start a family. He was on morning meetings and he makes them ina plane when inspiration struck. clude motivation and sales ideas,” she said. “I saw an ad for a vacuum cleaning “He makes us feel we are not in competicompany on the plane,” he said. “The ad tion with each other, but we’re a team.” said, ‘We are your one source for all your Acre and his wife Stephanie have three 18 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine » July 2019
children: Brynn, 9, Maddox, 6, and Tobias, 5. Despite their hectic lives with their jobs and their children’s activities, the couple sits down together at 8:30 p.m. each day to spend a half-hour talking about whatever is on their minds. He also is chairman of a nonprofit organization called Man Up And Go. The group’s mission is to serve the fatherless, empower single mothers and equip men to lead. His involvement with the organization led him to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in 2014. “We have a strong partnership with people in Ethiopia and Uganda, and someone suggested we climb Kilimanjaro for a fundraiser,” he said. “A team of us traveled there and did the climb.” The climb proved to be a physical challenge as well as a time commitment, Acre said. “But I heard a quote one time that said, ‘The absence of challenge degrades the human being’ and I thought, ‘Well, here’s a challenge, let’s see if you can do it, Mark.’” Training for the climb in Missouri where the highest altitude is 1,700 feet was different from climbing the 19,000 feet to Kilimanjaro’s summit, Acre said. But 13 men from the group made it to the top of Africa’s highest peak and raised $40,000 for their organization. Looking ahead to the future, Acre sees more peaks to climb and more challenges for growth in his professional life. “I’m looking for challenges to grow our practice,” he said. “I’m looking to grow it with the right people with the right talents, and do the right thing for the people of Main Street USA.” Susan Rupe is managing editor for Insurance N ewsN et . She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents’ association and was an awardwinning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact her at Susan.Rupe@innfeedback. com. Follow her on Twitter @INNsusan.
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LIFE M&ANNUITY A S T E R S
by john hilton
ootball star Travis Henry le a r ne d t he h a rd w ay that fathering children is expensive. Not even the $20 million Henry earned over a seven-year career in the National Football League was enough to support his offspring. Of course, having 11 children by 10 different women contributed to the financial strain. Henry claimed to be broke in 2009 after he was arrested for nonpayment of
20 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine » July 2019
child support. At the time, an attorney for the 30-year-old Henry estimated that his client owed about $170,000 annually to the mothers of his children. The one-time “Mr. Florida Football” bemoaned his predicament in a New York Times interview: “I’ve lost everything in this mess I’ve gotten myself into.” The Travis Henry story is not atypical. Young athletes and big money continue to be a potent cocktail for potential misery. In Henry’s case, his NFL orientation included a session on family planning
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
It takes a team to Rescue athletes from themselves
and the financial dangers of having children out of wedlock. Henry admitted that he paid no attention. And that highlights the difficulty sports leagues, agents, family and loved ones face in trying to steer athletes toward sound financial principles.
Travis Henry’s story is a classic case of spending big on friends and family.
HALL OF FAME, FALL OF SHAME COVER STORY
Get The Team Together
One of the first things an athlete should do upon signing a big-money contract is assemble a team to protect it, Graves said. That means an attorney, a financial person, a tax expert and others. This is something that athletes used to working with a “team” of coaches, trainers and nutritionists should understand, he added. Yet, they often don’t. “You’re 20 and we’re going to throw a bunch of money at you,” Graves said. “How are you going to deal with it?” Athletes face several areas of financial vulnerability. Take taxes. Not even a degree from Notre Dame Law School could keep Chris Zorich, a former defensive tackle for the Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins, out of tax trouble. Zorich admitted to four counts of tax evasion and failing to pay taxes on income of more than $1 million, including rental income received by his charity,
the Chris Zorich Foundation. He was sentenced to three years’ probation in 2013 and was required to pay $71,000 in back taxes. Athletes file annual taxes in every state, as well as some cities, in which they play. Not every state uses the same calculation to determine what portion of an athlete's income to tax, and some use different calculations based on the sport. “That’s pretty laborious, so there are CPAs that specialize in that,” Graves said. “Each client should have their team of experts that they feel comfortable with. And we make sure that we can be in contact with all of the team, all of the trusted advisors, so everybody knows what’s going on.” It’s best to start the financial discussion with transparency and reality, Graves said. That means showing the athlete what a $1 million salary equals after taxes, agent fees and other expenses. Hint: it’s not even close to $1 million. Small details are hugely important. For instance, athletes are normally only paid during their seasons, which could mean six months or more without money coming in. Budgeting is by far the biggest thing, Graves said. “The other thing we can show is how great it is if you do budget over time with potential significant growth rates,” he explained. “There’s a lot of things you can do to show the client that there’s a lot of benefits and rewards to living below your means and saving early as opposed to going big.”
Tyrann Mathieu recently made the news after a relative allegedly tried to extort $5 million from the Kansas City Chiefs player. According to court documents,
Wealth manager Gerald Graves and his team cover a series of financial tips with prospective athleteclients. He shared them with InsuranceNewsNet: 1. Build your own highperformance team. 2. It’s OK to say No. 3. Congratulations, but now you’re a target. 4. It’s your money, own it. 5. Think long term. 6. Rent or buy? 7. Keep all your paperwork. 8. Expenses kill — Be aware of how people are paid. 9. Budget and live below your means. the relative threatened to reveal personal information to the shock news site TMZ. Financial experts say these situations are not unusual, but nearly always heartbreaking. Graves advises clients to help family members achieve personal growth — like paying for college. “Help them do things better, don’t just give them money so they don’t have to do it,” he said. “Because then you sort of incentivize bad behavior.”
The reality is most athletes are not making the $20 million that Henry made. Yet, peer pressure might motivate them to live a similar lifestyle — be it cars, or travel or haphazardly having children. “It’s OK to say ‘No,’” said Gerald Graves, head of wealth management, West Coast, for the financial firm Boston Private. “I think a lot of people aren’t familiar with asking questions and saying ‘No.’ When Gerald Graves we start off in the business world, we learn over a number of years that when somebody offers you a business idea, you ask, ‘So what is that going to cost?’ Well, [athletes] haven’t been trained to do that.” For Henry, financial pressures led him down the road to bigger problems. He was released by the Denver Broncos in June 2008 — one year into a five-year, $22.5 million contract — amid reports of a looming drug suspension. NFL contracts are not guaranteed. On Sept. 30, 2008, Henry was arrested by federal drug enforcement agents and accused of being “the ruthless 'money guy' in a cocaine trafficking ring." He would later plead guilty in a deal that sent him to federal prison for three years.
Tyrann Mathieu’s relative tried to extort $5 million from him or release personal information to TMZ.
July 2019 » InsuranceNewsNet Magazine 21
COVER STORY HALL OF FAME, FALL OF SHAME a document that allows another individual to handle all of the affairs for that athlete.” Heitner dabbles in estate planning with some of his clients, and that process can go hand-in-hand with protecting assets. For example, athletes should have a pre-nuptial agreement and even a post-nup, he said. Those can be hard conversations. “I try to explain to the athletes that protecting yourself early, whether it’s with estate planning or doing a pre-nup agreement or spending a little bit of money on a lawyer to look over a contract could end up saving you a lot of time, resources and heartache,” Heitner said. In general, athletes are more educated and aware than the victims of past financial ruin, the experts say. Colleges, unions and the sports leagues are working together more than ever on reinforcing the message, Graves said. The money is so big now and social media so ubiquitous that athletes frequently talk money. “The disaster stories are well known and you read new ones all the time,” Graves said. “For the most part, most of the folks there don’t want to be the next one. So there’s more awareness than there’s ever been.”
Giving away money to family, friends, charities and ex-teammates led Bernie Kosar to bankruptcy court. The ex-football star struggled through health issues, business failures and divorce since retiring from the NFL.
22 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine » July 2019
FALL OF SHAME BERNIE KOSAR On the field, Bernie Kosar was known as a pinpoint passer from the pocket, but not very nimble afoot. But when the QB and his representatives shrewdly skirted NFL draft rules to deliver Kosar to the Cleveland Browns, it looked like he was adept with the business end of things. In fact, Kosar graduated in the summer of 1985 from the University of Miami’s business school with a double major in business and economics. The timing made Kosar a questionable participant for the NFL draft, held in April and, at that time, only seniors and graduates were eligible. Kosar was still classified as a junior. After some deft maneuvering that involved backchannel discussions, Kosar opted to skip the regular draft and declare for the supplemental draft held in the summer of 1985. The end result was Kosar, who grew up in Boardman, Ohio, got his wish to join the hometown Browns. Kosar would enjoy much success over nine years with the Browns, along with some of the famous Cleveland Robert Beck/Icon SMI 503/Robert Beck/Icon SMI/Newscom
Darren Heitner is a sports attorney and author of How to Play the Game: What Every Sports Attorney Needs to Know. Friends and family are among many threats the athlete faces once the money starts rolling in, he said. “I think they very clearly have Darren Heitner a target on their backs, and more so than other high-netwealth individuals,” said Heitner, who has worked with dozens of professionals athletes across all sports. “I really do believe that those who are and have been unscrupulous in their dealings with athletes probably believe they can get away with it because they likely feel the athletes are uneducated.” One of the worst things an athlete can do is sign away powers of attorney, Heitner explained, or otherwise put too much trust in someone with access to their financial accounts. “There’s no real reason for these broad powers of attorney to be granted,” he said. “Specific powers of attorney to handle specific tasks are one thing. But the worst thing an athlete can do is essentially sign
Cliff Welch/Icon SMI 357/Cliff Welch/Icon SMI /Newscom
HALL OF FAME, FALL OF SHAME COVER STORY sports heartache. He was on the opposing sidelines when Denver Broncos QB John Elway executed “The Drive,” a 98-yard possession that tied the AFC Championship Game in the waning seconds. Denver won in overtime and went to the Super Bowl. On the contract side, Kosar signed a six-year, $15 million deal in July 1989 that made him one of the best-paid players in the game. Sadly, the money did not set Kosar up for life as it could have. Kosar started off investing well. A 6% stake in a customer service outsourcing company reportedly paid off handsomely. But in interviews over the years, Kosar blamed a bad economy, bad advice, a costly divorce and being unable to say “No” for his financial downfall. In a 2009 interview with Miami Herald sportswriter Dan Le Batard, Kosar claimed he lent enormous sums of money to ex-teammates, friends and family and to charitable ventures. It would end with a lengthy bankruptcy proceeding and liquidation of Kosar’s many assets. LENNY DYKSTRA
Confidence and a thrill-seeking attitude made Lenny Dykstra a baseball star. In retirement, those traits became flaws that sent him spiraling into bankruptcy and later, prison.
Perhaps Dykstra’s well-publicized financial meltdown could have been predicted. As a player, he always thrived on the edge, pushing the limits on what the rules would allow. He lived life the same way. In the early 1990s, Dykstra told a federal court judge that he lost $78,000 betting in illegal poker games. He later told a radio host that beginning in 1993, he paid a team of private investigators $500,000 to dig up dirt on MLB umpires. Nicknamed “Nails,” Dykstra split his 12-year career with the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies, leaving his manic mark with both clubs. His teams had success almost immediately after Dykstra became their regular leadoff hitter. In his rookie year, the Mets won 98 games. The following year, they won 108 and the World Series. Dykstra is credited with turning that series around with a Game Three leadoff homer after the Mets dropped the first two games. Things eventually went sour in New York and the Mets traded Dykstra to Philadelphia. There, the mercurial centerfielder continued to be a fan favorite July 2019 » InsuranceNewsNet Magazine 23
COVER STORY HALL OF FAME, FALL OF SHAME several privately held companies, including car washes, Quick Lube Centers, a ConocoPhillips fueling facility and a real estate development company. The first sign of financial trouble came after Dykstra purchased NHL superstar Wayne Gretzky's $17 million estate, hoping to flip it, but was unsuccessful. At one point he owed more than $13 million on the house, and security guards were eventually told to keep him away from the property because he had stripped the house of more than $51,000 worth of items (countertops, an oven and hardwood flooring). That led to charges of bankruptcy fraud, concealment of assets and money laundering. Dykstra’s frequent run-ins with law enforcement revealed lifelong addictions to alcohol and various painkillers. He was sentenced to three years in prison in 2012. Court filings pegged Dykstra’s career earnings at $58 million. By then, it was all gone. ARANTXA SANCHEZ VICARIO
Trust in her family led to the loss loss of Arantxa Sanchez Vicario’s $60 million tennis fortune. Spanish authorities are suspicious of the claims and continue to pursue back taxes from her.
while frustrating management. The good was very good. In 1990, Dykstra led the National League in hits and started in the All Star Game. The bad was just around every corner. In 1991, Dykstra crashed while driving drunk and sustained fractured ribs, a broken cheekbone and a fractured collarbone. In 1993, the Phillies and Dykstra enjoyed a dream season. The CF led the 24 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine » July 2019
league in runs, hits, walks and at-bats, and was runner-up for NL Most Valuable Player. The Phillies came up short in the World Series, however, falling in six games to the Toronto Blue Jays. Dykstra’s high-octane playing and lifestyle forced him from the game a few years later. Like Kosar, he initially invested well. Dykstra managed a stock portfolio and served as president of
On the tennis court, Sanchez Vicario was tenacious in battling for every point. Dubbing her the “Barcelona bumblebee,” famed commentator Bud Collins described her as "unceasing in determined pursuit of tennis balls, none seeming too distant to be retrieved in some manner and returned again and again to demoralize opponents.” Sadly, that tenacity did not extend to Sanchez Vicario’s financial affairs. In a 2012 tell-all memoir, she blamed her father, Emilio, for blowing her $60 million fortune via poor investments made without Sanchez Vicario’s knowledge. Her parents strongly denied the claims. During her 17-year career, Sanchez Vicario rarely skipped a tournament. She won 759 singles matches and another 676 doubles matches. The Spaniard compiled a somewhat disappointing finals record — winning 29 singles tournaments in 77 chances. This includes a 4-8 record in Grand Slam events. Still, Sanchez Vicario ascended to the world No. 1 ranking three separate times in 1995 for a total of 12 weeks at the top. She became the first Spanish woman elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2007.
HALL OF FAME, FALL OF SHAME COVER STORY Her financial problems were well known by then and continue to the present. In the book, Sanchez Vicario said she focused on her career and lived off a stipend provided by Emilio, who controlled her finances. After retiring in 2002, Sanchez Vicario claimed to learn that she had little of the money she expected to have. Taxes became her big legal problem after Sanchez Vicario claimed residence in the tax haven of Andorra. A court ordered her to pay a 3.5 million Euro tax debt, a figure that has since grown much larger while banks and Sanchez Vicario continue to battle in the courts. The case was appealed all the way to the Spanish Supreme Court, which upheld the original judgment. Banks have attempted to force a
liquidation of Sanchez Vicario’s assets in lieu of payment. The tennis great and her husband, Josep Santacana, eventually relocated to Miami to escape the financial fight.
HALL OF FAME WAYNE GRETZKY In addition to being the greatest hockey scorer to ever suit up, Wayne Gretzky gave us one of the most quotable quotes ever: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” That could also describe Gretzky’s business approach as well. He is at times an unconventional investor — such as in 1992, when Gretzky and a partner purchased a rare 1910 Honus Wagner
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Considered the greatest hockey player ever in a hockey crazed country, Canadian Wayne Gretzky expanded his financial capital through endorsements. From there, he invested in sports’ ventures before opening his own vineyard.
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July 2019 » InsuranceNewsNet Magazine 25
Booming Market Year Round Sales Great Persistency Lasting Renewal Comp Easy Product to Learn Dedicated Support Team
COVER STORY HALL OF FAME, FALL OF SHAME in 1985. In 1991, Gretzky and his business partners (comedian John Candy and Kings owner Bruce McNall) purchased the Toronto Argonauts. They sold the club in 1994. He also embarked on several entrepreneurial ventures following retirement, including No. 99 Estates Winery on the Niagara Peninsula and a restaurant in Toronto called “Wayne Gretzky’s.” And Gretzky is no absent owner. He is known to visit the restaurant regularly and reportedly keeps a Sharpie in his shirt pocket at all times. No customers are turned away and The Great One is said to be generous with his time. BRANDON COPELAND Unlike many financially successful athletes, Coleman is still playing. But he is trying to set a foundation for lifetime success, while also helping others to do the same. Copeland, 27, fought for several years to establish himself in the National
Football League. Finally, in 2018, his fourth team was the right fit and Copeland became a starter at outside linebacker for the New York Jets. His reward is a one-year, $1.75 million contract. That is a big step up from his first two years, 2013-14, when Copeland earned $61,600 as an inactive practice squad member of two NFL teams. But it is off the field where Copeland is getting noticed. A Wharton School graduate, Copeland spent two summers interning at UBS in college, and spent his 2017 offseason working remotely for Weiss Multi Strategy Advisers. Earlier this year, Copeland told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he wished he had taken more courses on finances and budgeting before business school. That is part of what inspired him to co-teach a financial literacy seminar at his alma mater this past year. Copeland has called the class “Life 101” and said he came up with the idea while discussing the hard lessons of finances with an ex-teammate. Michael Johnson/ZUMA Press/Newscom
baseball card for $451,000 — but usually a successful one. The card most recently sold for $2.8 million. Gretzky’s net worth is estimated at $200 million. A native of Ontario, Gretzky’s fascination with hockey began early on. He was skating before age 3 and at age 10, scored 378 goals and 139 assists in just one season with the Brantford Nadrofsky Steelers. It marked the start of a three-decade career filled with eye-popping numbers. After winning five Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers, Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988, a move so stunning, some Canadian lawmakers demanded the government block it. He was greeted by a four-minute standing ovation during his first game back in Edmonton. That kind of popularity assisted Gretzky in business. Gretzky mixed hockey with business early on, buying the Hull Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Brandon Copeland is trying to be an example to fellow athletes that even a lower-wage professional athlete can turn that into lifetime income by making the right investment and career choices.
26 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine » July 2019
Jonathan Huff/Cal Sport Media/Newscom
HALL OF FAME, FALL OF SHAME COVER STORY
Dale Earnhardt Jr. parlayed his famous auto racing bloodlines into a wildly successful business empire. The key to Earnhardt’s success is having a diverse portfolio and being unafraid to invest in creative projects.
Despite his claims of financial ignorance, Copeland stands out for his mature handling of his own fleeting NFL salaries. “I’ve literally hoarded money,” he told ESPN in 2017. “I’m literally stacking, stacking, stacking.” Nearly 60% of Copeland’s post-tax salary goes towards “safe, long-term” investments, he explained. Another 30% goes towards savings and he lives off the remaining 10-15%. DALE EARNHARDT JR. It is not an easy road for sons who follow famous fathers, especially one choosing the same racing field where Dale Earnhardt dominated, intimidated and inspired devotion from legions of NASCAR fans. Earnhardt Sr. died instantly on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second in that race and slowly began establishing his
own legacy. While never as charismatic or successful as his namesake, Dale Jr. carved out his own immense popularity off his unique brand of aw-shucks righteousness. That’s not to say the younger Earnhardt was not a successful racer. He won the Daytona 500 twice among his 26 wins and 260 top 10 finishes. But it’s off the track where Earnhardt shone. His business acumen led him into a variety of ventures and contributed to a fortune estimated at $400 million. Earnhardt seems to understand the need to have a diverse portfolio. His holdings range from the expected, such as a partial ownership in Paducah International Speedway in Kentucky, to the most unexpected. For example, Earnhardt has his own signature line of eyeglass frames, partnering with NY Eye Inc. He owns Hammerhead Entertainment, a media production company; car dealerships and a pair of Whiskey River Beer and Wings restaurants
Most recently, Earnhardt invested in FilterTime, a residential air filter delivery service founded by former NASCAR driver Blake Koch. Earnhardt retired from full-time racing in 2017. A year later, he said every athlete is trying to create his own George Foreman Grill when it comes to the business arena. Former boxer George Foreman made millions with his signature grill. “We’ve started up a lot of stuff, and a lot of it is still going, and some of it didn’t work,” Earnhardt told Yahoo Finance. “Now that I’m not driving, I can focus a lot more time into those businesses.” InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton has covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @INNJohnH.
July 2019 » InsuranceNewsNet Magazine 27
28 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine Âť July 2019
July 2019 Âť InsuranceNewsNet Magazine 29
Life Premium Inches Up In 1Q Individual life insurance new annualized premium crept
upward by 1% in first quarter 2019, compared to first quarter 2018, according to LIMRA. The total number of individual life insurance policies sold in the first quarter decreased 3%, compared with the same quarter of the prior year. Universal life new annualized premium was flat in the first quarter, primarily driven by the 15% decrease in fixed UL sales. Lifetime guarantee UL new premium fell 12%, compared with prior year, the eighth consecutive quarter of declines for this product. Indexed universal life new annualized premium grew 9% in the first quarter, marking the 10th consecutive quarter of growth for IUL. Whole life new annualized premium dropped 1% in the first quarter, compared with prior year. Variable universal life new annualized premium rose 12% in the first quarter. Term life insurance new annualized premium grew 2% compared to first quarter 2018.
CARRIERS NIX COVERAGE OVER NALOXONE
Nurses say they are denied life insurance for carrying the lifesaving opioid blocker naloxone, also known as Narcan. Now some New York lawmakers want to change that. Several nurses who obtained the drug have been rejected for life insurance policies, because naloxone appears on their active medication lists, according to Tara L. Martin, state political director at the New York State Nurses Association. A bill introduced in the New York State Senate would prohibit life insurers from denying someone benefits or increasing their rates solely because they were prescribed naloxone. Nurses and other health care professionals often obtain naloxone without a patient-specific prescription in case of interactions with patients or drug users in nonclinical
When we are passionate about life insurance’s role in proper planning, there is no limit to the value we can provide. — Brenton Harrison, Henderson Financial Group, Nashville
settings. The bill would apply to anyone with a naloxone prescription, unless the insurer could demonstrate a risk.
LIFE INSURERS FACE RISING EXPENSES
Life insurers have been facing a challenging environment of late. Low interest rates, higher reserve requirements, poorer claims experience and sluggish organic premium growth have combined to hit carriers where it hurts. In order to achieve profitability, insurers may be looking to lowering expenses, but that may not drive long-term success, according to a new study by Conning. Researchers said that while expenses have risen, there has been no noticeable connection to improved sales or operating results in many instances.
Driving these rising expenses are hikes in technology costs, which have been growing faster than other expense categories, the researchers said. DID YOU
SEARS ENDS RETIREES’ LIFE INSURANCE
Sears was once the world’s largest retailer, but it’s a shell of its former self today, closing hundreds of stores and filing for bankruptcy last year. Now the company is getting rid of one of its popular retiree perks, and its former employees are fighting mad. Lawyers for the retired Sears workers say the company has wrongly terminated the life insurance policies for tens of thousands of its retired employees. They believe the spouses of some Sears retirees who recently died have been deprived of the life insurance payment earned from years of work at the iconic department store, according to a court filing. In one instance, the life insurance policy of a Sears retiree won’t be paid because he died 21 days after the company terminated its retiree life benefits. As part of its bankruptcy proceedings, Sears’ CEO says the company paid $43 million in severance payments to workers who lost their jobs in the wave of store closings.
Brooke Shields is the celebrity spokesperson for Life Insurance Awareness Month in September. Source: LIMRA
30 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine » July 2019
Source: Life Happens
Sell This and You’ll
Never Make Another AnnuIty CommIssIon AgaIn If you’re like most producers, you’ve sold — and currently sell — fixedindexed annuity income riders. You probably don’t even realize you’re damaging the future of your practice and the future of your clients’ hardearned retirement income. And it’s time someone not only told you the truth — but gave you the SOLUTION. My name is Gabe Myers, and I’m the founder and CEO of Peak Pro Financial. After decades in the industry, I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’re destroying your practice — simply by selling standard 10- or 12-year annuities.
I have the solution, and it offers sizeable commissions, short-term liquidity and senior market distinction. Stop falling for insurance company tricks and start doing what makes sense for your clients and your business.
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Andy Albright calls agents to the stage to present a bonus life insurance policy at a National Agents Alliance meeting in January. He gave 71 agents a total of about a half billion dollars in face value.
When A Simple ‘Thank You’ Keeps Your Best People Close A marketer inspired by the University of Michigan’s life insurance policy play with head football coach Jim Harbaugh finds that a warm embrace can be good for retention.
By Steven A. Morelli
ndy Albright wanted to give his top producers and corporate leaders a bonus — a half a billion dollars’ worth. It was not in cash but in face value. It was a retention tool that many insurance agencies have used for business clients, but not for their own employees. The strategy can take different forms. In Albright’s case, he wanted to reward the top 71 people at his agency, North Carolina-based National Agents Alliance, with an indexed universal life policy that they can keep, as long as they stay at the company or don’t work for a competitor if they leave. Albright got the idea when he was helping his alma mater, North Carolina State University, work out a plan for coaches after the University of Michigan 32 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine » July 2019
sweetened head football coach Jim Harbaugh’s already-significant salary by adding a multi-million-dollar life policy funded by the school. “So, I'm sitting here saying, ‘Man, what a way to give a gift and a retention play at the same time,’” Albright said. “And if they're doing it for big-time college coaches who are making two million, three million dollars, my guys are making millions. Why can't I do it for them?” Not only did he pull together a package of 71 policies worth more than a half a billion dollars for his top people, he turned the presentation into an emotional ritual. The evening before his annual company meeting in January, 1,000 producers and others gathered for the surprise announcement. Albright spoke to the audience about the legacy they would all leave their children and grandchildren. “Then I looked at my top guys and I said, ‘What are your grandkids going to say?’” Albright recalled. “Is your picture going to be mounted over the fireplace? Are your kids going to talk about your character? Are they going to talk about your integrity? Are they going to talk about your philanthropy? Are they going to talk about how you set them up in
business and life and how you paid for their college education? What are your grandkids going to say?” Albright admitted he got caught up in the moment and teared up as he spoke, building to the big reveal: “I have a legacychanger today.” He pulled the policies one-by-one out of a box, starting with the lowest. The policies ranged from $2.5 million for a staff member on up to $38 million for his top-producing couple. Although the recipients had applied for the policies, they did not know the policies’ face value and when they would be presented. “They knew something special was going to happen but they didn't know what,” Albright said of the pre-conference gathering. The policies rewarded the company’s top producers, who were able to receive more face value insurance than they would be able to obtain on their own. Albright was able to leverage premium financing for the highest IUL policies. The gift also inspired others, who asked how they could qualify. Albright said agents had to have an income of $100,000 to qualify and then it was a matter of production. Although he could not say when, Albright said he would
WHEN A SIMPLE ‘THANK YOU’ KEEPS YOUR BEST PEOPLE CLOSE LIFE revisit the bonus system periodically. “I told them, ‘We'll do it again in two years. We'll do it in five years, we'll layer this,’” Albright said. “When we can do it as the company grows, and we can justify more, and to more people.” Albright pays the premium and the recipient keeps the policy. All he asks is that the agents stick with him — or retire. Albright was clear on what would happen with the coverage if the agent left for another company. “It reverts back to the company ownership,” he said. “They can retire. They just can't become an enemy of the state, an enemy of the community, an enemy of the family.” Albright’s joking reference was for agents who join another distributor and poach other agents from Albright. Then it’s no life insurance for you.
started one yet. But his description of a typical case seems to illustrate why marketing organizations might want to consider the strategy. “The type of business that we look for is one where they have key employees who would be difficult to replace or if you have a business with had a lot of turnover in a particularly critical position,” Smith said, adding that the strategy recently helped a client keep somebody who holds a critical position. The company is a property development management firm that went through three chief financial officers in as many years. “They had spent the time training them and had gotten really excited about each of the people they'd hired only to have them hired away by a competitor for a better offer,” Smith recalled. “Then they
For example, the policy is structured so that if the policy hits historical returns, the owner could pull out $100,000 a year for 15 years starting at age 66, Smith said. But the employee could hold onto the cash buildup instead if the policy is performing well. At that point in the policy’s life, the cost of insurance should have dropped considerably. But it could be the gift that keeps on giving if the IUL is going strong at that point and other money is returning on lower rates. “You might get to age 66 and have other places to draw cash from,” Smith said. “And by that point, with maximum funded IUL policies, the annual charges are infinitesimally small because with these policies, the charges are high in the early years. By the time you're in Year 11 and beyond, in a lot of cases, it’s eight basis points, 12 basis points.” If the IUL is getting 7%, the fee would reduce the return to 6.9%, far higher than the 3% of fixed investments and products. And not only is it attractive for the employee, if the employer is an insurance agency, as in the case of National Agents Alliance, the agency also has the benefit of receiving the commission, Smith said. “That really helps reduce the overall out-of-pocket costs to the employer,” Smith said.
Gift That Gives Back
Andy Albright gets choked up as he talks about leaving a legacy.
Agents are familiar with the retention strategy, also known as “golden handcuffs,” because many offer it to business clients. But insurance marketers themselves are not particularly known for using the strategy with their own agents — even though the small pool of successful producers creates a hypercompetitive recruiting environment.
How IUL Can Retain Workers
Jorda n Sm it h, v ice president of advanced design at Schechter Wealth in Birmingham, Mich., has helped companies with retention strategies. He is helping a few marketing organizations structure a plan but is not aware of any having
have to go back to square one and find a new person and train them. So, this was an attractive approach to differentiate themselves from any of the competitors who might try to steal their key employee and to engender some positive feeling and some firm loyalty.” Although it has only been a few years, Smith said the company has been able to hold onto its latest CFO. Typically, it is the cash accumulation of the life insurance more than the death benefit that keeps employees interested. “These are all designed for maximum cash accumulation,” Smith said. “It's really designed to create this asset that can be drawn upon in retirement, tax-free.”
It was a considerable IUL sale for Albright, whose agency has been expanding beyond its mortgage protection insurance roots. Albright wanted to thank and retain the people who helped him do it. In fact, the life insurance plan started out from a place of gratitude. “It started as a gift play, as a thank you, and then the retention is just natural,” Albright said. “Then I said, ‘Oh, wait, all they have to do is stay with me and this is life-changing for them.’” Steven A. Morelli is editor-in-chief for I n s u r a n c e N ews N e t . He has more than 25 years of experience as a reporter and editor for newspapers, magazines and insurance periodicals. He was also vice president of communications for an insurance agents’ association. Steve can be reached at smorelli@insurancenewsnet. com. Follow him on Twitter @INNstevem.
July 2019 » InsuranceNewsNet Magazine 33
Fixed Annuity Sales Off To A Strong Start
Fixed annuity sales jumped out of the starting gate in 2019, with first-quarter sales up 38% over the prior year, according to LIMRA. Fixed annuity sales hit the $38 billion mark in first quarter 2019. Sales of fixed annuities amounted to 63% of overall annuity sales and outperformed variable annuity sales in 11 of the past 13 quarters, LIMRA reported. Overall, annuity sales were $60.8 billion; an increase of 17% from first quarter 2018 results. It is the highest first quarter for total annuity sales going back a decade.
SECURE ACT WOULD BOOST ANNUITIES
A bill that would expand annuity options in retirement plans passed the U.S. House of Representatives. The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement (SECURE) Act is designed to expand access to workplace retirement plans, particularly for small businesses, and will improve the ability for employers to extend greater access to annuity options in those plans. The measure also requires retirement plans to provide participating workers with an illustration of how much monthly income a retirement savings account might deliver. Additionally, the bill raises the age to begin required minimum distributions from retirement accounts from 70 1/2 to 72. Roughly 700,000 more U.S. workers will start saving for retirement if the SECURE Act becomes law, according to an estimate by the American Council of Life Insurers.
COULD ANNUITIES COMPENSATE COLLEGE ATHLETES?
The NCAA announced earlier this year that it was going to look into the DID YOU
possibility of college athletes having the ability to profit off of their likeness. And how might they profit? Maybe through an annuity, suggested Auburn University head basketba ll coach Bruce Pearl. Athletes should be able to share in the profits that everyone else involved in the game Bruce Pearl enjoys, Pearl said. There should be an incentive to have players stay in school longer, such as an annuity, he said, adding that allowing players a chance to profit like this in college might be a step toward that. A longtime head coach at both the Division I and Division II level, Pearl said that “a college scholarship is worth a ton," but might not be enough.
QUOTABLE This is the strongest start for fixed annuities ever. — Todd Giesing, LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute
The survey showed the majority of Americans were unsure of the rate of return they would receive through a deferred fixed annuity and how much money they would need to purchase an annuity. Of those surveyed, 23% owned an annuity. But the majority of those annuity owners were uncertain of the difference in rate of return between an annuity and a certificate of deposit. In addition, 44% of those surveyed said they did not know they could purchase a deferred fixed annuity from an insurance company.
PROTECTIVE CLOSES GREAT-WEST ACQUISITION DEAL
Protective Life completed its deal to acquire Great-West’s annuity and individual life business. This is the final step of a transaction that was announced in January.
AMERICANS LEAVING MONEY ON THE TABLE, SURVEY SAYS
When it comes to their understanding of fixed income choices, Americans are lacking in knowledge and that lack of knowledge is costing them money, according to a Fidelity Investments survey.
The acquisition is the 57th such deal Protective has closed. The Great-West transaction cost about $1.2 billion and is Protective’s largest acquisition so far. Protective became part of Dai-ichi in 2015 and the company announced it is aiming for further expansion in North America.
Total group annuity risk transfer sales in the first quarter of 2019 reached $4.9 billion, a 213% increase from the same quarter last year.
34 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine » July 2019
Giving back is what defines us Foresters Financial and KaBOOM! have built over 150 playgrounds in the past 12 years thanks to the hard work of over 9,900 Foresters members, sales partners and guests. Since 1874, Foresters Financial has been providing socially responsible financial services to individuals and families. Today, we still embrace our purposeâ€”we enrich family and community well-being. We continue to innovate products and services that go beyond financial planning to provide benefits that empower our clients and members.1 We help them help make a positive difference in the world. Giving back is not a new concept for us. Itâ€™s what defines us. Because helping is who we are. Foresters Financial and Foresters are trade names and trademarks of The Independent Order of Foresters (a fraternal benefit society, 789 Don Mills Road, Toronto, Canada M3C 1T9) and its subsidiaries. N364 1
Descriptions of member benefits that you may receive assume that you are a Foresters Financial member. Foresters Financial member benefits are non-contractual, subject to benefit specific eligibility requirements, definitions and limitations and may be changed or cancelled without notice.
417281 US (03/19)
Why We Should Rethink Joint Payout Elections Annuity income riders typically are structured to favor single lifespans. But does that make sense for married clients? By Niju Vaswani
hen it comes to guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefits on a fixed indexed annuity, why are joint payouts often left out of the conversation? Hint: It’s not because spouses don’t want or need joint payouts. Many couples share finances and need their retirement income to last as long as either spouse is alive. In fact, under the Retirement Equity Act of 1984, federal law requires married people to elect joint and survivor annuity payouts on a pension unless their spouse signs a notarized statement waiving their rights to the money. But joint payout elections on an FIA are few and far between. Why is that? Typically, annuity income riders are structured to favor single lifespans, resulting in a vast majority of payout elections covering a single life — even if the annuitant/owner is married. According to Society of Actuaries projections, for a couple at age 65, there’s a 50% chance that one person in the couple will be alive at age 92. That’s one in two survivors who may live for many years with lost income — all while coping with the loss of a loved one. Does it make sense that their ongoing annuity income source is eliminated just when they may need it most? It’s time to rethink joint payout elections.
Guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit riders — often called income riders — use payout percentages to help determine a client’s yearly income. The payout percentages for joint payouts are typically — sometimes drastically — lower 36 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine » July 2019
for joint annuitants than for single annuitants, resulting in lower income for two individuals. Actuarially speaking, this percentage reduction makes sense. Insurance companies must price income riders in a way that won’t break the bank. Chances are that one spouse will outlive the other; hence, an insurance company will pay out a guaranteed stream of income for a
Another reason joint elections are often disregarded is that, for years, many insurance companies structured their income rider to group payout percentages by age. For instance, clients ages 55–59 could have received guaranteed annual income equal to 3% of their benefit base, while clients ages 60–64 could have received 4% of their benefit base annually. Because the age of the younger spouse
much longer time period for two individuals as opposed to one. Insurance companies need to make up the dollar difference somewhere. The problem is: Over time, agents have become so accustomed to seeing such a large drop in income rider payment amounts for joint coverage that few even present joint illustrations to their clients today.
generally is used to determine lifetime income amounts, this age-banded structure had a tendency to penalize couples. A couple age 59 (female) and 60 (male), for example, would have received a 3% payout percentage instead of 4%. But, by electing single male payouts, which tend to have higher payout percentages than joint payouts, the
WHY WE SHOULD RETHINK JOINT PAYOUT ELECTIONS ANNUITY same couple could have received a 4.5% payout percentage for the husband’s life — increasing their income by 50%! With such a dramatic difference in income, the joint payout conversation has become muted. Consumers who weighed their options didn’t see the value of electing the lower joint payouts. Although single male payouts may provide higher annual income, the challenge is that it lasts only while the
The good news? Today, age banding for payout percentages is becoming a thing of the past, offering a much more favorable guaranteed payout for spouses. Additionally, on some FIAs, the wide percentage gap between single and joint elections is closing, making the joint payout conversation relevant again! What if you could provide couples the peace of mind of guaranteed income for the length of both of their lives, What if you could provide couples without a large dollar reducthe peace of mind of guaranteed tion in payments? With some income for the length of both of of today’s FIAs, you can. their lives, without a large dollar When preparing to meet reduction in payments? with a married couple, compare income riders by covered person is alive. Income stops running joint illustrations. It’s possible to when the husband dies, but for the sur- find joint payouts that are within 7-10% of viving spouse, expenses continue. This their comparable single male payouts. may leave clients in an unfortunate and Ask your client, “Would you rather avoidable financial situation. While cash receive $1,000 per month for life, leavflow is a crucial consideration for clients ing no guaranteed income for your surchoosing a payout election, it isn’t their viving spouse, or $910 per month for as only deciding factor. They must also con- long as either of you lives?” For many, the sider who will be impacted by the deci- answer to the question in this hypothetsion both now and in the future. ical scenario is easy; the value provided
by covering both spouses is worth a $90 reduction in monthly income. And, by choosing the slightly lower joint payments, the wife would only need to live less than 1½ years beyond her husband to recover the dollar difference. This is a likely scenario, considering the Society of Actuaries estimates there’s a 45% chance that a wife outlives her husband by five years and a 20% chance she outlives him by 15 years. For married clients who share expenses and assets, it’s time to put joint payouts into the election conversation. When you offer couples their choice of payout elections, you’re demonstrating that you have their best interests in mind, and you put your clients in the decision-making driver’s seat — a win-win for all. Niju Vaswani is chief marketing officer of Legacy Marketing Group. He may be contacted at niju.vaswani@ innfeedback.com.
July 2019 » InsuranceNewsNet Magazine 37
Brokers Could Be Forced To Disclose Commissions Health benefits brokers would be subject to dis-
closure requirements as part of a sweeping health care bill introduced in the U.S. Senate. The Lower Health Care Costs Act was introduced by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. The bill takes aim at a number of issues, including surprise medical bills, high drug prices and public health problems. The bill also would create more transparency around pharmacy benefit managers to ensure they are passing along discounts on drugs to customers. In addition, the bill would prevent certain anti-competitive clauses in contracts between medical providers and insurance companies that can drive prices up. But buried in the bill is a requirement that health benefits brokers reveal fees and other enticements they receive from the insurance industry. This section of the bill proposes revising the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which sets minimum standards for most private health and retirement plans. Brokers would have to disclose compensation or incentives from insurers and other vendors, in writing, at the time an employer signs up for benefits. Health insurers also would have to disclose information on broker compensation or incentives to consumers who sign up for coverage on the individual market.
MOST WISHED-FOR JOB BENEFIT IS?
A fresh crop of college graduates is making its way into the workforce this summer and, as they sift through job offers, these newly minted grads have benefits on their minds. But what benefit do they want the most? Health insurance! The American Institute of CPAs surveyed new college graduates and found that more than half of them want their employer to offer health insurance. Paid time off and student loan forgiveness came in second and third place. Given a hypothetical $100 in workplace benefit dollars that their employer could divide between repaying student loan debt and another employee benefit, new graduates would prefer to allocate $61 toward the student debt and $39 toward health insurance, the AICPA found. DID YOU
HEALTH CARE IS NO. 1 FINANCIAL PAIN
American families say the cost of health care is their top financial problem. That’s according to a recent Gallup poll. About 17% of Americans said health care was their most significant financial issue, ahead of low wages and college expenses. Worry over health care costs transcended age, the poll found. Health care was the top financial concern for 25% of adults between the ages of 50 and 64, and 23% of those aged 65 and older. Health care costs tie with lack of money, college expenses and housing costs as the greatest financial worries among adults younger than 50. Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say they will
The total voluntary benefits market in the U.S. increased by 3% in 2018.
38 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine » July 2019
Insurance premiums are not high because insurance brokers are getting exotic trips and bonuses and things like that – it’s not true. — Ronnell Nolan, CEO of Health Agents for America
focus on health care issues in the 2020 election.
EXCHANGE INSURERS HAVE THEIR BEST YEAR
Last year was the best one for health insurers who offered coverage on the Affordable Care Act exchanges since the ACA went into effect, Kaiser Family Foundation reported. Individual member per month margins reached $166.82 in 2018, up from $78.52 the previous year. That’s a hike from the low point in 2015, where insurers posted a $9.21 loss per member per month, according to the study.
Medical loss ratios were also at their lowest in 2018 at 70% and after peaking at 103% in 2015. Under the ACA, exchange plans are expected to meet an 80% medical loss ratio, so the study estimates payers will issue $800 million in rebates to members to make up the difference. The report also comes as enrollment in ACA plans has declined in the past few years. However, the report said the financial results suggest that the markets are “stable and sustainable” despite this.
Faith-based Healthcare Sharing Program
You Have to See It to Believe It! There’s an amazing new healthcare program sweeping the nation. It’s one that almost every broker and agent who is interested in offering a faith-based health sharing program needs to know about. This innovative ACA-exempt healthcare sharing program: • Provides affordable healthcare sharing options for your family • Offers next day effective date, 1st-28th of the month • Has monthly member contributions as low as $140 for individual, $225 for individual + one, and $350 for family • Accepts people of similar faiths • Is available in 48 states • Does not deny tobacco users and social drinkers • Gives access to nationwide PPO provider Network, PHCS with over 1M providers • Offers commissions that are paid weekly with incentive programs
Visit www.FaithBasedACA.com to download your free sales kit and see for yourself why this unique program sells itself! ONESHARE HEALTH IS NOT AN INSURANCE COMPANY BUT A FACILITATOR OF HEALTHSHARE MEDICAL EXPENSES. This is an ACA-exempt program that is not insurance coverage. The sharing membership does not guarantee or promise that medical bills will be paid or shared by the membership. Members are responsible for unpaid bills.
Support Your Clients, Their Workers Through Stress Relief The right benefits package can help ease employee stress and lead to more productivity.
By Michelle White
tress has a huge impact on your clients and their workplaces. Stressed-out employees are less productive and less engaged, costing your clients thousands — if not millions — of dollars annually, according to a Colonial Life study of full-time U.S. workers. According to the survey, 40% of employees say they experience high or moderate levels of stress. Half of these employees named finances as a top stressor. Here are some of the highlights from the study of more than 1,500 U.S. workers on the impact stress is having on their workplace: »M ore than 40% said stress made them less engaged. »M ore than 40% said it made them less productive. »N early one in four said it caused them to be absent more frequently. »A nd nearly 25% said it has caused them to look for a new job. 40 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine » July 2019
But there’s good news, too: As a benefits professional, you are in the perfect position to help your clients and their employees focus on wellness programs that can lower stress and improve both productivity and engagement in the workplace.
Increase Wellness, Decrease Spending
Employee health and wellness matter. A healthier workforce is not only more productive, it also helps curb the constantly rising cost of health care. In the Colonial Life survey, for example, 35% of employees who report high levels of stress said they spend more than 10 hours on the clock each week thinking about their stress. And another 27% spend between five and 10 hours per week. That’s a concerning amount of lost productivity. Highly stressed employees are also more likely to: S ay their employer doesn’t care about them. »R eport they are not satisfied in their jobs. » Leave their employer in the next six months.
Results can be measured on both your clients’ bottom line and in their employees’ wallets. Estimates from different studies vary, but generally show a return of at least three-to-one for every dollar a company invests in a wellness program.
Think Broadly About Wellness Benefits
Employee well-being encompasses not only physical health but also financial, mental and emotional health. These areas of well-being overlap and interact: If you’ve ever dealt with a headache while juggling overdue bills, you know worrying over financial problems can cause stress that can lead to physical health problems. Only 17% of highly stressed employees say they have wellness programs available to them in their workplace, according to the Colonial Life study. Meanwhile, nearly 30% of employees who report less stress say they have wellness programs at the office. The good news is there are many benefit programs you can bring to your clients to help ensure a healthier, happier, more productive workforce. Even better news: Many are available at low or no cost from your benefits providers, especially if you’re bringing them a new
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July 2019 » InsuranceNewsNet Magazine 41
HEALTH/BENEFITS SUPPORT YOUR CLIENTS, THEIR WORKERS THROUGH STRESS RELIEF account or can ensure optimal enrollment conditions. Here are some of the wellness programs and services to consider offering your clients and their employees: » Identity monitoring and restoration. According to IdentityTheft.info, 15 million Americans — that’s 7% of adults — are hit by fraudulent use of their identities each year, with financial losses reaching $50 billion. Identity theft protection provides identity monitoring and helps employees with the burden of recovering from identity theft. Programs may include a dedicated case manager to act on the victim’s behalf and resolve the issue. Some packages even include a service to make lost wallet replacement quick and easy. » Financial education. Many of America’s workers don’t understand basic financial concepts. A WalletHub.com Wallet Literacy survey found 40% of U.S. adults
spending a large percentage of their disposable income on student loan repayment. Some studies show millennials are more interested in student loan help than health care or retirement funding. Because of debt obligations, millennials are prone to job-hopping in search of extra income. Robust programs allow employees to manage their student loan burden, refinance their debt or help find creative ways to pay it down. Employers who are interested in keeping millennial employees engaged and at work are even able to contribute to employees’ student loan debt payment. » Telemedicine. This service provides access to board-certified doctors online or by phone, any time of the day or day of the week. It’s not designed to handle emergency conditions or replace a primary care doctor, but it can often substitute for a doctor’s office or urgent care visit for common conditions such as the flu or
is paid even if the exam is covered by health insurance and the amount doesn’t depend on the actual cost of the test.
Communication Drives Participation
Although the benefits of wellness programs may seem obvious, some critics claim they sound good on paper but don’t deliver results. And this holds true if employees choose not to participate in the program. The best solution to drive engagement is better communication and education. Communication can take many forms. Some companies adopt wellness “champions” or ambassadors who help spread enthusiasm about the program throughout the organization. Other businesses include regular articles in company newsletters or distribute personal benefits statements that highlight the company’s total compensation package. Partnering with a reliable benefits carrier that offers a full slate of enrollment services, including one-on-one benefits counseling, can help drive better participation in benefits programs and achieve the desired results from wellness initiatives. Personalized benefits education and consistent wellness messaging help employees better understand the importance of wellness and how it can improve their lives — and save them money. You can differentiate yourself in the marketplace, strengthen your client relationships and build your book of business by adding a healthy dose of wellness offerings to your benefits business. Encouraging your clients to take advantage of wellness programs and services can help them save money and create a happier, more productive workforce.
Personalized benefits education and consistent wellness messaging help employees better understand the importance of wellness and how it can improve their lives — and save them money. give their personal finance knowledge a grade of C or worse — and even that may be optimistic. A financial education program can include access to online calculators, budgeting tools, videos and webinars, plus unlimited access to complimentary financial coaching by phone. » Discounts on drugs and medical services. A discount program helps employees save money on doctor’s office visits, prescription drugs, vision and hearing products and services, lab work and imaging tests. Even if your client already offers a health or prescription drug plan, a discount program can complement it by helping pay for services that are limited or not covered, especially with a high-deductible health plan that leaves employees with considerable financial exposure to out-of-pocket costs. » Student loan reimbursement support. Many recent graduates are 42 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine » July 2019
pinkeye — saving employees valuable time and money. » Employee assistance programs. EAPs provide short-term counseling and referral services to help employees with personal and family issues, as well as work-life balance goals. Services typically include in-person, phone or online counseling and other tools and educational resources available online. » Wellness benefits. Some voluntary coverages such as cancer policies include wellness benefits that pay a set amount for preventive screening tests such as colonoscopies, mammograms and X-rays. This helps catch potential problems earlier, when they’re easier and less expensive to treat. The benefits paid for annual screening tests also make the coverage even more affordable, effectively reducing the net cost of the premiums for employees. The benefit
Michelle White is vice president, client management, for Colonial Life. Michelle may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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July 2019 » InsuranceNewsNet Magazine 43
NEWSWIRES Florida Ranked Best State For Retirement
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ROUNDING OUT THE TOP 10 STATES FOR RETIREMENT ARE: 1. Florida 2. South Dakota 3. Colorado 4. New Hampshire 5. Virginia 6. Utah 7. Iowa 8. Wyoming 9. Pennsylvania 10. Minnesota
Choosing where to call home in retirement just got a lot easier, thanks to a new study by WalletHub. Using factors such affordability, quality of life and health care, WalletHub compiled a list of the best and worst states for retirees. If the running joke is that the Sunshine State is full of retirees, it’s true. Florida has the highest percentage of people 65 and older. While the great weather is a plus, it isn’t the only reason retirees are flocking to Florida. The state has become a tax haven, boasting one of the lowest tax burdens of any state, with no personal income tax, estate tax or intangibles tax.
MOUNTING INFLATION KILLS SOCIAL SECURITY’S PURCHASING POWER
Over the past 19 years, Social Security benefits have lost 33% of their buying power, according to a report from The Senior Citizens League. Citing rising housing, prescription drug and food costs, The Senior Citizens League says expenses for seniors have risen twice as fast as the cost-of-living adjustment that is supposed to counteract the impact of inflation on Social Security recipients. The average monthly Social Security benefit in 2000 was $816 a month, and someone who collected that amount 19 years ago would have $1,226 a month today, thanks to the annual cost-of-living adjustment. Unfortunately, to retain the same purchasing power as $816 in 2000, the monthly check would need to be $1,634, according to the report. The Social Security Administration says the average monthly check for all retirees is $1,461.
QUOTABLE I don’t trust this market at all. — Jim Cramer, host, Mad Money, CNBC
ADULT CHILDREN ARE EATING INTO PARENTS’ RETIREMENT
WOULD YOU RATHER?
How much do you love social media? Would you consider giving up Facebook or Twitter to erase your debt? How about giving up your favorite treat or your pet? According to a survey of adults with more than $500 in credit card debt, 31% of respondents said they would quit social media for a year if it meant getting rid of their credit card debt. Another 32% said they would give up their favorite treat for a year to be debt-free. The survey from Mr. Cooper, a nonbank mortgage servicer, illustrates the extremes people are willing go to in order to get out of debt. The survey found that one in three Americans is losing sleep over their debt and another 25% says that debt has hurt their relationships with family. Respondents said they would resort to extreme measures to erase their debt even before looking for financial advice.
The average cost of raising a child to age 18 is approximately $233,610, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But what about after children reach adulthood? According to a Bankrate.com survey, half of the respondents said they’ve sacrificed their own retirement savings in order to help their grown children with finances. While you might think the Bank of Mom and Dad only applies to middle-class families, Bankrate.com found that parents with higher incomes were more likely to sacrifice their retirement savings by dipping into their retirement savings accounts or reallocating money marked for retirement savings to help their adult kids. According to the findings, six out of 10 parents said they’ve jeopardized their own retirement savings to help their kids with bills. Bank of America found that 60% of parents buy food for their grown children. Another 30% are paying down their student loan debt.
KNOW 73% of Americans consider social issues when making a decision to invest in a company. Source: LIMRA Source: Allianz Life
44 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine » July 2019
R E T T E B e v r e s e d O M u F o r y u o Y m Fro
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Variable Universal Life: Evolving To Solve A Variety Of Client Needs From a taxation perspective, VUL looks a lot like a Roth IRA alternative. • Charles Arnold
ariable universal life insurance is a dynamic product that has evolved over the decades to provide a variety of client solutions. What sets VUL apart from other permanent life insurance products is the investment component, where the cash value is placed in subaccounts managed by professional money managers. Most VUL products have between 50 and 100 subaccount investment options to choose from. This allows a custom portfolio to be built within the insurance wrapper. When you look in the rearview mirror, many advisors and clients were hurt by the way VUL was designed, marketed and sold in the past. Take the late 1990s as an example. The industry was not funding policies adequately, there were no protections in place and agents were illustrating VUL north of 10% annualized. I think we all know what happened, and it was a major black eye for the VUL industry. Ever since then, most have steered clear of the product. Today, a maximum of 7% gross is the adopted standard for illustrating VUL, with many broker-dealers placing further internal restrictions closer to 6% gross. As with many historical examples, crisis breeds innovation and the industry has tried to learn from that mistake. That particular market downturn led to the introduction and standard practice of nolapse guarantees or NLG being applied to the contracts for a period of time, or even 46 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine » July 2019
for the life of the contract, regardless of subaccount performance. VUL is sold in two primary ways today: either in an over-funded, accumulation design with a limited NLG, or in a lifetime NLG protection design. The lifetime NLG protection design is the most popular use of VUL and is the one I’ll cover first. In 2013, a market price disparity occurred as a result of actuarial guideline 38, or AG 38. That guideline mandated higher reserve requirements for many permanent policies sold by insurance companies. Guaranteed universal life was one of the products negatively impacted as a result. The added liability for this requirement was worked into the repricing of the contracts, which increased the cost of this type of policy across the industry. AG 38 had little to no impact on VUL. Around this time, one carrier in particular had a lifetime no-lapse guaranteed VUL on the books that, instantaneously, offered a cheaper alternative to traditional GUL. The VUL product offered the same lifetime guarantees as GUL, but with a lower cost structure. This allowed for a client to purchase more death benefit per premium dollar, regardless of their underwriting class, when compared sideby-side to GUL. Additionally, the lifetime NLG VUL offered potential cash value growth in later years within the policy for the client to access for supplemental income, for example, that a GUL doesn’t provide.
GUL Versus VUL
Let’s take a “five-pay” example from Lincoln Financial where the client will pay an annual premium for five years. For a male client, age 65, with a standard non-tobacco underwriting class looking for $1 million in guaranteed death benefit coverage, the premium for their GUL is $109,584. For Lincoln’s corresponding NLG VUL it worked out to be $89,736 annually. That is a premium difference of $99,240 over five years for the same $1 million in guaranteed coverage. Additionally, the VUL contact, assuming 7% net return, had a surrender value, or cash value amount of $826,090 in policy year 20 (client age 85). That cash value figure is based on the hypothetical illustration that is by no means guaranteed. What it really translates to is added flexibility for the client for various uses, including more value for a 1035 exchange down the road if need be. This GUL to NLG VUL price disparity is greatest for 1035 dump-ins and short-pay scenarios, and less so for a level premium design. Over the past five years, this lifetime no-lapse VUL sale has made up more than 80% of total VUL sales among our brokerage general agency partners and their agents. It is an easy gap to bridge from the traditional guaranteed life insurance sale for most point-of-sale agents, while providing the peace of mind and flexibility that advisors and clients demand. This is what we would call a “protection” design for clients over age 50 with a particular focus on death benefit. There is another type of VUL sale that
VUL: EVOLVING TO SOLVE A VARIETY OF CLIENT NEEDS
focuses on cash value as opposed to death benefit, called an “accumulation” design. Within the confines of the IRS tax code for life insurance, premium dollars can be allocated between two general areas: cash value and death benefit. Outside of the up-front costs, the major ongoing cost throughout the life of the policy is cost of insurance, or COI. That cost is determined by a client’s age, health, and the insurance company’s net amount at risk. The net amount at risk is really the difference between the policy cash value and death benefit, which is what the insurance company is on the hook for if the client dies. For an accumulation design, we take the protection model described earlier and we flip it on its head. Instead of looking for a defined death benefit, we are looking for the absolute minimum death benefit per premium dollar to qualify for life insurance, thus maximizing cash value for investment. This model works the best when we can also minimize COI, which reduces cost drag on the policy. We are already minimizing net amount at risk, so the other factors of client age and health come into play. The younger and healthier the client, the lower the COI will generally be. This could be a great product for high-income clients between the ages of 25 and 60 who are looking to place investments within the tax-advantaged wrapper of life insurance. The death benefit is tax-free to beneficiaries. In addition, withdrawals and loans from the life insurance cash value are, in most cases, free from income tax. With after-tax money going in, tax-deferred investment growth and then subsequent tax-free income, this model begins to look a lot like a Roth IRA alternative for clients who can no longer qualify for it.
A Question Of Cost
At that point, it really becomes a question of what cost the client wants to assume: either the cost of taxation or the cost of insurance. If their COI is less than their COT, it would be better to assume the cost of insurance and eliminate the cost of taxation. However, if a client’s COI is high, due to health reasons, for example, then it may not be the better deal. In that situation, a nonqualified investment-only variable annuity may be an alternative. An IOVA doesn’t offer the same tax advantages, but still maintains tax-deferred growth and isn’t subject to medical underwriting. A client’s health is really the pivot point between a life and annuity sale for accumulation purposes. The single biggest misconception about life insurance is the perceived cost. Over the life of the client, an overfunded VUL design for a healthy individual is actually comparable in cost to a variable annuity product, while offering superior value on an after-tax basis for income. To take it a step further, in a large degree of variable annuities, the first distribution ends up being a death benefit, which is a taxable event to beneficiaries. Whereas, in a life product, the death benefit is a tax-free transfer. In any VUL sale, the client is subject to medical underwriting. Outside of perceived cost, this is the single biggest deterrent for financial advisors and clients alike when considering life insurance. Over the past five years, with Big Data, predicative analytics, electronic medical files and access to information, insurance carriers have begun offering accelerated underwriting programs that take the typical underwriting sales cycle
from 30-60 days to 10-15 days. As you might imagine, there are parameters on what qualifies for accelerated underwriting. Accelerated underwriting is usually reserved for clients with no major medical conditions, between ages 25 and 60, and up to a maximum of $1 million face amount (death benefit). With these parameters as an example, a 35-year-old with a standard non-tobacco rating could invest in a five-pay VUL of around $30,000 a year while still sitting below that $1 million face amount threshold. We’ve been told independently by chief underwriters of two major insurance carriers that the next expansion of the program will be to push the $1 million face amount to a higher level, but they don’t see the age limit being expanded above 60 anytime soon. The consensus among industry professionals is that accelerated underwriting is the future of permanent life insurance sales, and creates a more transactional experience for both consumers and advisors. As VUL and other cash value life insurance products become transactional, it sets the stage for mass-market appeal. We believe it will be a gradual shift from a point-of-sale distribution model, to a traditional wholesale model. We also believe that someday VUL will be as transactional as dropping a variable annuity ticket for a client for either a protection or accumulation design. There are other ancillary uses for VUL beyond the scope of this article — including business applications, private placement and the combination of chronic illness and long-term care riders. But it is clear that VUL deserves deeper consideration among financial planners and clients. Charles Arnold is national director, The Leaders Group/TLG Advisors, Littleton, Colo. Charles may be contacted at email@example.com.
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July 2019 » InsuranceNewsNet Magazine 47
10,000 Steps A Day? Maybe Not Are you wearing out your sneakers trying to get in the
10,000 steps that your fitness tracker says you have to walk each day? New research shows that you may not need to walk quite that far to see a health benefit. A paper published in JAMA Internal Medicine says getting only about half that many steps per day is enough to decrease the risk of early death in older women. The number of daily steps taken was shown to be more important than how quickly the women walked. The average American adult takes between 4,000 and 5,000 steps a day, said I-Min Lee, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-author of the paper. The benefit increased with the number of steps until leveling off at 7,500. Little bits of activity can add up over time as well, researchers said. Everyday activities such as housework and gardening can contribute to the 30 minutes of daily physical activity experts recommend.
OBESITY UP, DIABETES DOWN
The most common form of diabetes in adults is linked to obesity. But recent statistics show a bit of a paradox: Obesity rates in the U.S. continue to climb, but the number of newly diagnosed diabetes cases is dropping. New federal data found the number of new diabetes diagnoses fell to about 1.3 million in 2017, down from 1.7 million in 2009. The rate of new diabetes cases fell to six per 1,000 U.S. adults in 2017, from 9.2 per 1,000 in 2009. That's a 35% drop, and marks the longest decline since the government started tracking the statistic nearly 40 years ago, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meanwhile, Americans keep packing on the pounds, with 39.6% of U.S. adults in 2017 considered to be obese, compared with 35.7% in 2009. What’s behind these falling diabetes rates? CDC experts are not sure but they say one factor is DID YOU
that improvements in testing are causing more people to be diagnosed with prediabetes, spurring them to make changes in their health before they become diabetic.
BURNOUT: IT’S A THING
Burnout — that extreme feeling of work-related stress — isn’t all in your head. The World Health Organization recognizes it as a legitimate medical diagnosis. Burnout now appears in the International Classification of Diseases
section on problems related to employment or unemployment. According to the handbook, doctors can diagnose someone with burnout if
Snakebites kill 200 people worldwide each year.
Source: Wellcome Trust, United Kingdom
48 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine » July 2019
QUOTABLE Fitness is not about aesthetics; fitness is about your health. — Kelsey Wells, Instagram fitness trainer
they meet the following symptoms: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one's job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job, or reduced professional efficacy. However, the ICD says the diagnosis of burnout is limited to work environments, and shouldn't be applied to other life situations.
FROZEN MAY BE BETTER THAN FRESH
Ever since someone came up with the idea of cutting up produce and storing it in the freezer, the debate has raged: Are frozen fruits and vegetables inferior to their fresh counterparts? Now the National Institutes of Health has weighed in and the verdict is — frozen is just as good as fresh and sometimes better. Commercially frozen fruits and vegetables are picked at peak ripeness before going into the deep freeze, NIH said, and freezing is a good way to preserve the nutrients in those foods. Compare that with fresh fruits and vegetables, which are usually picked just prior to peak ripeness so that they can survive traveling to the supermarket and sitting on the produce section shelf. In addition, nutrients in fresh produce tend to break down shortly after it is picked. Fresh-from-the-farm ripe fruits and vegetables are nutritionally superior to frozen, the NIH researchers said, but only if they are eaten within a day or two of being picked.
INSURANCE INVESTMENTS RETIREMENT
Long-term care needs may be unpredictable … … but SecureCare Universal life is a product clients can count on for: • Customizable coverage • Cash indemnity LTC benefit • Guaranteed protection1 Addressing your prospects’ top concern can mean sales success for you.
Get your SecureCare Sales Success Kit today – Call 1-888-900-1962 1. SecureCare offers guaranteed protection by providing a guaranteed death benefit, guaranteed long-term care benefit and guaranteed reduced paid-up nonforfeiture benefit. Insurance policy guarantees are subject to the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company. Please keep in mind that the primary reason to purchase a life insurance product is the death benefit. Life insurance products contain fees, such as mortality and expense charges, and may contain restrictions, such as surrender periods. Agreements may be subject to additional costs and restrictions. Agreements may not be available in all states or may exist under a different name in various states and may not be available in combination with other agreements. SecureCare may not be available in all states. Product features, including limitations and exclusions, may vary by state. SecureCare Universal Life Insurance includes the Acceleration for Long-Term Care Agreement. The Acceleration for Long-Term Care Agreement is a tax qualified long-term care agreement that covers care such as nursing care, home and community based care, and informal care as defined in the agreement. This agreement provides for the payment of a monthly benefit for qualified long-term care services. This agreement is intended to provide federally tax qualified long-term care insurance benefits under Section 7702B of the Internal Revenue Code, as amended. However, due to uncertainty in the tax law, benefits paid under this agreement may be taxable. Please ensure that your clients consult a tax advisor regarding long-term care benefit payments, or when taking a loan or withdrawal from a life insurance contract.
Securian Financial Group, Inc. securian.com 400 Robert Street North, St. Paul, MN 55101-2098 ©2019 Securian Financial Group, Inc. All rights reserved. F87549-93 6-2019 DOFU 6-2019 ICC19-741948
The death proceeds will be reduced by a long-term care or terminal illness benefit payment under this policy. These materials are for informational and educational purposes only and are not designed, or intended, to be applicable to any person’s individual circumstances. It should not be considered investment advice, nor does it constitute a recommendation that anyone engage in (or refrain from) a particular course of action. Securian Financial Group, and its affiliates, have a financial interest in the sale of their products. The purpose of this material is the solicitation of insurance. An insurance agent or company may contact you. Policy form numbers: ICC17-20103, 17-20103 and any state variations; ICC17-20111, 17-20111 and any state variations.
Insurance products issued by Minnesota Life Insurance Company. Insurance products are issued by Minnesota Life Insurance Company in all states except New York. In New York, products are issued by Securian Life Insurance Company, a New York authorized insurer. Minnesota Life is not an authorized New York insurer and does not do insurance business in New York. Both companies are headquartered in St. Paul, MN. Product availability and features may vary by state. Each insurer is solely responsible for the financial obligations under the policies or contracts it issues. Securian Financial is the marketing name for Securian Financial Group, Inc., and its affiliates. Minnesota Life Insurance Company and Securian Life Insurance Company are affiliates of Securian Financial Group, Inc. For financial professional use only. Not for use with the public. This material may not be reproduced in any way where it would be accessible to the general public.
Let’s Keep In Touch: Maintaining Relationships Is An Investment Keeping in contact with far-away friends and relatives requires some effort, but it’s worth it. By Bryce Sanders
as this happened to you? You meet some great people on vacation. You really hit it off. When parting, you exchange contact information. You pledge to keep in touch, but it never happens. You might have cousins or nephews living on the other coast. You are related, but no one extends themselves. You feel guilty when you see them at weddings or graduations. Making an effort to keep in touch is the right thing to do and a good investment of your time. But how do you make it happen?
Rationale For Keeping In Touch
Many people have outsourced keeping in touch to social media sites such as Facebook. They connect with lots of people, post photos and “like” or comment on posts from people they know. They still have face-to-face relationships. Immediate family is the most obvious example. They also encounter people at the gym or religious services, or while commuting and performing other daily activities. But what about the people they know who live far away? Why make the effort to stay in touch? 1. Family health issues . Ever yone is getting older. You want to know if someone in your extended family is suffering from physical illness or problems like dementia. 2. Family support. You may not be close enough to help with a relative’s grocery shopping, but you can provide 50 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine » July 2019
emotional support. Spouses and parents die, and you want to extend sympathy to the surviving family members. On the happier side, family members marry and have children. You want to cheer them on and offer advice. 3. Family investing and business connections. Some families put their heads together to find jobs for family members. In the Asian community, it’s common for business ventures to be funded internally through investments from other family members. 4. Family inheritance. It would be tactless to stay in touch so you will be remembered when wills are written. That being said, “keep it in the family” is a powerful motivator. Better that a family member gets the money instead of the government. 5. Good friends are priceless. You likely know many people, yet only a few are your BFFs. If you were on your way to adding a new BFF on vacation, why would you lose that opportunity through neglect? 6. Can you ever have too many friends? That’s highly unlikely, although Audrey Hepburn had a great line in the movie Charade: “I already know an awful lot of people, and until one of them dies I couldn’t possibly meet anyone else.” Cary Grant replied: “Well, if anyone goes on the critical list, let me know.”
What Are The Basic Rules?
OK, you’ve bought into the idea of making an effort to keep in touch with friends – past, present and potential. You’ve reached out on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Here’s what to do next: 1. You make the first move. Inertia is powerful. You need to overcome it and reach out. 2. Find their preferred communication channel. Some people l i ke email. Others text. Others message on social media. You might like the phone. Once you find the right channel for that friend, stick to it. 3. It’s not an even exchange. Think about a set of scales. You may need to put much more effort into initially building the relationship and then, later on, the other person will start doing their part. 4. Be supportive. You send a wellthought-out message on LinkedIn. They send back a thumbs-up. Thank them for responding. When you reward someone’s behavior, it encourages them to do more. 5. Friends will get along somehow. You might say: “I have all these friends, but they are from different worlds. They won’t get along.” Plan a holiday party or a summer barbecue. Invite several sets of your friends. You’ll be surprised at how many interests they have in common and the people they know.
11 Ways To Keep In Touch
Your goal is to move from a passive or even inert relationship to an active one. Here are 11 ways to do it. 1. Facebook. Social media is the obvious first step. Among the 2.32 billion monthly active users on Facebook, you will find many of those friends, while others will have not taken the plunge.
LET’S KEEP IN TOUCH: MAINTAINING RELATIONSHIPS IS AN INVESTMENT INBALANCE You need to take that next step to actively reach out and communicate. 2. LinkedIn. Often described as the professional, business version of Facebook, LinkedIn has 590 million users. I find it’s a convenient way to initiate a link with people I haven’t seen in a long time. Also, every day, I try to send out five personal messages to get a dialogue going. When people sense you’re not sending them boilerplate text and you aren’t selling anything, they are usually responsive. 3. Holiday cards. You would think sending actual Christmas cards has died out. But, according to American Greetings, about 1.6 billion holiday cards are sold in stores each year. Enclose your annual letter, but try not to devote too much of the news to family members your friends won’t recognize. Here’s the logic: Texting, e-mail and social media have literally emptied your physical mailbox. Most people just get bills and junk mail. A holiday card gets attention. It often gets displayed in the house. The recipient usually sends one back, if they haven’t mailed a batch already. We have an artist friend who draws a family portrait of us and our pets. It’s the artwork for each year’s card. He’s been doing this for more than 35 years. 4 . Let te r to friends. When my w i fe a nd I moved from New York to San Francisco on a work rea ssig nment, we left many friends and clients behind. Every couple of months, we would write a letter to our friends telling amusing stories of day-to-day life in our new home. We mailed more than 50 copies of each letter! Some recipients wrote back. Others called. Some didn’t. Former clients were thrilled to be considered friends. More than 20 years later, I occasionally hear from someone asking for advice.
5. Birthday and anniversary cards . The average American household buys 30 greeting cards each year, according to American Greetings. You have friends and family who live near and far. Build a list of birthdays and anniversaries. Transfer this data to a page-a-month calendar. Send birthday and anniversary cards. Cards to young nieces and nephews should include money. They will turn the card upside down looking for it. 6. Let’s do lunch. When I served on the board of a local museum, our chairman would call about every six weeks and suggest going out to lunch or dinner. Spouses were included. Usually it was one or two couples. He must have kept a schedule because it happened like clockwork.
to face always beats phone or written communication. 10. Throw a holiday party. This doesn’t need to be complicated. Send out an E-vite type of invitation to all those friends, regardless of distance. Those far away won’t attend, of course. Others will. They will meet your other friends. You will see them face to face. They will likely return the favor by inviting you over, too. 11. Go where they go. You ran with the gang at school. You haven’t seen them for years. If your school is local, they likely have alumni weekend, homecoming and other events to draw graduates back to campus. Go this year. Find the section for your class or decade. Catch up with classmates. Have those “Where are they now?” conversations.
Remind Me Again — Why Bother?
These are people you like. Getting back in touch should be rewarding. You have
Former clients were thrilled to be considered friends. More than 20 years later, I occasionally hear from someone asking for advice. 7. Sunday morning calls. The phone still works. Thanks to Skype, international calls are cheap. We have a friend, living in England, who devotes time on Sunday mornings to calling friends near and far. It’s a scheduled item on her agenda.
friends and interests in common. Most of these strategies require time, but very little cash outlay. They will be thrilled to hear from you and a little guilty they didn’t reach out first. You will reconnect with people who matter to you.
8. Open invitation to visit. You met people on vacation. Get in touch afterward. Let them know you enjoyed meeting them. Invite them to stay a night or two if they travel to your part of the world. They will likely extend the same invitation in return. It’s your personal version of Airbnb. This brought us to England and New Zealand.
Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions. He provides high-networth client acquisition training for the financial services industry. He is the author of the book, Captivating The Wealthy Investor. Bryce may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
9. Look them up when you are in town. You travel for business. Keep a list of friends, organized by location. Before your next trip to that city, get in touch. Suggest getting together. Face
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July 2019 » InsuranceNewsNet Magazine 51
Close More Sales By Not Selling Help your clients and prospects see the wisdom of your advice without coming across as “sales-y” in the process. By Chris Jarvis
hy does the negative stereotype of a “salesperson,” and of “selling” in general, persist in our culture? The simple answer is that the general public does not trust salespeople. They don’t believe salespeople put their clients’ needs ahead of their own financial interests. As a result, many people think that the only thing worse than having to deal with a salesperson is being called a salesperson. Your career won’t progress unless you face this reality — and take drastic action! The key question is, “How do you help your clients and prospects see the wisdom of your advice without coming across as ‘sales-y’ in the process?”
Do The Math
I am a mathematician by education and an actuary by training. I have been called a bean counter, math geek and quant jock. Although those labels may be true, I have earned more than $1 million in annual life insurance commission income multiple times. I have even been the top salesperson (out of 22,000 licensed and appointed agents) at a mutual insurance company — twice! And, most impressively, I accomplished this feat while selling insurance part-time. I don’t share this to impress you. I share this to impress upon you that you can sell a lot more and you don’t have to work crazy hours to do it. There are more than 1.4 million licensed insurance agents in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average life insurance agent earns $50,000 per year, and the average income for a more seasoned financial advisor with a life insurance 52 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine » July 2019
agent’s license is closer to $105,000 per year. What allows one person to earn 10-20 times the average income in his field while working part time? You don’t have to miraculously turn billionaires into your friends, employ
model is based on a flawed premise — you believe you will be able to reach physicians. They have tons of people knocking on their doors every day and they have well-trained gatekeepers. You’ll never reach them.”
Elevate Your Perspective: Stop Asking Attorneys for Referrals We need estate planning attorneys to do our clients’ wills and trusts, but those attorneys have very few clients who don’t already have an agent. The key is to bring value to a new category of referral sources who don’t already work with your competitors. Couldn’t you help:
» Commercial bankers who want their customers to have key man and buy/sell coverage? » Private equity firms that want to turn costly executive compensation into an asset on the balance sheet? » Accountants who need a solution to get retained earnings out of C corporations? » Nonprofit executives who are worried about the new tax on income over $500,000? When you start building relationships with new sources, you’ll see a better path to more referrals. Chris Jarvis, 6 Secrets to Leveraging Success, 2018, Post Hill Press.
dozens of people or even become an expert “closer.” What you do have to do is adopt three counterintuitive habits. 1. Give away your secrets. While earning my MBA from The Anderson School at UCLA in the late 1990s, I entered the business plan competition with my idea. What was it? I had started a physician-focused financial services firm that based its client development on education marketing. Although I made it to the finals of the competition, I did not win. The judges said, “Your business
Twelve years later, I’d written 10 books for doctors, published more than 100 articles, and held more than 100 seminars. Most importantly, 15,000 physicians had called or emailed me asking for assistance. Everything I shared in my educational materials was non-proprietary. Hundreds of thousands of attorneys, accountants, insurance agents and investment advisors could have handled every idea I shared with my prospects. Why did so many doctors contact me instead of working with someone else? Why did doctors from all parts of
CLOSE MORE SALES BY NOT SELLING BUSINESS the country fire their advisors and hire my firm, without ever meeting me in person? They did it because I delivered valuable information with no strings attached. People would read my materials, self-diagnose and then make decisions about working with me before they ever met me. This happened hundreds of times every year. 2. Turn prospects and peers into partners. A mentor of mine, life insurance agent and best-selling author Hank Frazee, encouraged me to spend time with other advisors, learning what they do well. He taught me to ask questions like: » What is the most profitable transaction (service) you offer? » What types of clients are most difficult for you? » What is your ideal client and why is that so? » What is your favorite type of problem to solve? » Who is your most valuable referral source, and why? My goal is to make 50 referrals to other advisors each year. I refer prospects and clients to other service providers, clients to other clients, and professionals to other professionals. It’s not important for me to be paid for these introductions. What is important is that I show clients and strategic partners that I am interested in their continued success. Before you dismiss this practice as wasteful, consider that I’ve received handwritten thank-you notes for recommending advisors. I don’t get thank-you notes for completing large cases, but I do get them for making introductions. Why? I think it is because people really appreciate thoughtfulness, especially when there is no financial incentive for doing so. A few years ago, I referred two clients to an attorney at a national firm. Total billings were approximately $100,000. Both clients mentioned this introduction in their holiday cards to me. Two
years later, I’d earned more than $2 million in insurance commissions as a result of referrals from that same attorney. To receive more referrals, make more referrals. Unsure who your clients need to meet? Make it a practice to survey your clients every year. Ask them what their goals are for the year, what they worry about most and what they want to finally check off their to-do list. The answers will keep you busy and gain your clients’ trust and appreciation. 3. Leverage your limitations. A common complaint from wealthy clients is the “yes” phenomenon. Clients get frustrated when an advisor immediately says they can do something, then doesn’t follow through or spends a lot of time (and money) learning how to do it. Clients are willing to accept your honest answer of “no” or “I don’t know, but I will research the best solution for you.” They don’t expect advisors, or anyone else, to know how to do everything. But they do expect — and respect — honesty and effort.
More Sales, Less Selling
By changing your focus from sales to education, you become valuable. By focusing on your clients’ needs, rather than on your products or services, you build trust. By going out of your way to help others in your field and in your community, you show that you care. Instead of looking at customer service and the supply chain as threats to your profitability, you see these valuable interactions as invaluable opportunities to show others who you are and what is important to you. When your prospects and colleagues see you as valuable, trustworthy and caring, you will never have to sell anything ever again. Chris Jarvis, MBA, CFP, specializes in finding unconventional growth paths for business owners, sales organizations, and nonprofits. He is the author of 15 books, including 6 Secrets To Leveraging Success. Chris may be contacted at email@example.com.
July 2019 » InsuranceNewsNet Magazine 53
My method for finding new customers is very precise
CUSTOMERS BY SELLING
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Founded in 1890, NAIFA is one of the nation’s oldest and largest associations representing the interests of insurance professionals from every congressional district in the United States.
LTC No Longer ‘OneProduct-Fits-All’ NAIFA’s new Long-Term and Extended Care Planning Center is empowering insurance professionals to redefine long-term care and help consumers address their limited and extendedcare planning needs. By Ayo Mseka
or many Americans, planning for long-term care used to be a relatively straightforward process — they selected standalone, long-term care insurance policies designed to help them pay for the care they will need when they can no longer carry out the activities of daily living. But in recent years, the cost of LTCi plans has substantially increased, leaving fewer Americans with access to this product. What is alarming, this lack of access is happening at a time when the need to plan for LTC has never been greater. According to some estimates, 14.5% of the nation’s population is now 65 years old or older, and by 2029, that percentage is expected to hit 20%. With this graying of the population has come an increased demand for products and services that address the evolving needs of a population that is living longer, and at some point, will require various levels of care.
A New Landscape
Insurance carriers, senior care specialists, financial advisors, lenders, and health and insurance professionals have responded to this demand by moving away from the one-product-fits-all approach of the past to a continuum of solutions that are more modular, more flexible and provide more “situation applications” to buyers. These forward-thinking organizations have essentially re-defined long-term care and created a new industry — the limited and extended care planning industry. As LECP players seek to meet the evolving needs of older Americans, they 54 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine » July 2019
have enhanced existing products and offered new solutions. In the LTCi arena, for example, they have introduced products designed to provide more flexibility than stand-alone LTCi policies, making them more attractive to a wider range of consumers. Among these products are linked-benefit LTC policies, as well as LTC riders. These riders accelerate a policy owner’s life insurance death benefit to cover expenses when the policyholder qualifies as needing extended or long-term care services. Riders also give clients the option to tap into either benefit, providing flexibility to address the inevitability of death and the near-inevitability of long-term health care needs. Whether the owner dies or needs care, they will still get the benefit they paid for. A growing number of companies are also offering life-combination products. “Our research shows consumers — especially younger consumers — like the idea of purchasing a product that can serve two purposes: mitigate the costs of long-term-care services or offer a death benefit,” said Scott Kallenbach, research director, strategic research, with LIMRA. “Based on the current sales trajectory of these products, we forecast this market to continue to enjoy robust growth.”
Innovations in the LECP industry are not limited only to the product arena. A broad range of services will help Americans with chronic conditions and functional limitations carry on with their daily lives and take advantage of programs designed to help them pay for these services. For example, some companies are offering a “funding” option (a non-insurance option) for consumers who want to stay in their own homes and gain access to extended-care services but need some liquidity or want to leverage their asset with insurance.
Other companies are providing stateof-the-art solutions in short-term care, claims management, senior housing options and robotics. All of these innovations have resulted in an industry that is a far cry from yesterday’s senior marketplace. They have produced a new market that offers a comprehensive suite of products and services that allow all Americans to successfully address their long-term and extended-care planning needs.
NAIFA’s New LECP Center
Recognizing this new market and the opportunities it presents, NAIFA recently launched the LECP Center, which empowers insurance professionals to network with providers to share best practices and directly access subject-matter experts, research, training and resources. The center also provides thought leadership that encourages all stakeholders to continue to address the changing needs of the market. “Over the years, the long-term care industry has heard the call to innovate with more products, expanded services, new research studies, and professional insights and training,” said Carroll Golden, executive director of the center. “Recognizing the importance of planning and approaching the broader topic of care need options, the LECP Center is designed to encourage advisors to increase their knowledge, grow their practice through education or networking with specialists, and increase profitability by meeting the needs of clients and their families.” The center provides an opportunity “to come together as an industry to communicate, organize and share information and intelligence so we may continue to address the changing needs of the LTC market. It fills the gap of splintered efforts that are currently proliferating throughout the landscape, and allows stakeholders access to meaningful solutions that truly grow the advisor’s outreach and help their clients,” Golden said. Ayo Mseka is editor-in-chief of NAIFA’s Advisor Today magazine. Ayo may be contacted at ayo.mseka@ innfeedback.com.
The Million Dollar Round Table is the premier association of the world’s most successful life insurance and financial services professionals.
Navigating Long-Term Care Insurance with Clients It’s not easy to discuss long-term care insurance with clients. But there are a number of options in the marketplace that will take care of clients’ future needs while providing funds for their beneficiaries. By Philip E. Harriman
ong-term care insurance is a difficult product to discuss for advisors to discuss with clients. Although price may be one factor, many Americans forego this insurance because they don’t think they’ll need it. We need to shed light on the reality that AARP research finds more than half of Americans retiring today will require long-term care, and will need to cover it in advance due to rising health care and nursing home costs. By providing a clear picture of the need for and benefits of long-term care insurance, and the different options available, we can help our clients cover this significant threat to a dignified retirement.
Set The Scene
Many Americans depend on retirement savings or their family and friends to finance their long-term care, but these are not reliable solutions for future retirees. With cost-of-living increases and the elimination of corporate pensions, personal retirement funds will likely need to be allocated elsewhere. On top of that, future retirees will be able to depend less and less on younger family members to share funds as those younger individuals face their own rising expenses and savings needs. These growing restraints have made it challenging for couples without longterm care insurance to afford to have one spouse living in a nursing home and the other living a more typical retirement lifestyle. Some choose to forego needed custodial care or go back to work to pay
for the other spouse’s care — especially because Medicare doesn’t cover longterm care — but this creates another difficult dynamic for the couple. Gender plays a role in long-term care concerns. A lack of coverage makes it harder for men to retain their dignity as they age since their health usually declines before their wives’ health does. Women, in turn, become the full-time caretakers for their husbands and sacrifice their independence when they lack insurance to pay for professional caretakers.
Preserve Dignity And Independence
Explain to your clients how long-term care insurance can provide the dignity and independence they deserve. With insurance, they won’t have to depend on family or friends for financial support. The professional support they could then afford will give both those needing care and their spouses a wider range of freedom and options. After you have your client’s buy-in, tackle the logistics. Even if your clients are older, they can qualify for insurance if they’re still in good health. Encourage your clients to share honest assessments of their current health to help you navigate the options before formally applying for coverage.
New, Versatile Options
Of course, it’s not possible to perfectly time an insurance purchase, or to guarantee coverage for the rest of your client’s life. However, there are some new options on the market that can alleviate clients’ worries and simplify the process of purchasing long-term care insurance. Some companies now offer life insurance policies with long-term care riders, which allow policyholders to draw upon death benefits to pay for long-term care expenses. This can make navigating both issues easier for clients and provide them with some peace of mind. Share this
option with clients when you discuss both long-term care and life insurance, and also have this discussion with clients whose life insurance will soon expire. Additional options are available to clients concerned about not getting a return on their investment. For example, some long-term care policies return parts or all of the premium payments if the policies are cancelled. This can help people who have liquid savings transfer them into a policy, which creates a pool of money much larger than their initial deposit to use even if they have a long-term care event. If they die before using the money for long-term care, there is an incometax-free death benefit for the client’s beneficiary. Talk with clients about policies that enable them to leverage savings, the option to cash in the policy or allow unused benefits to become untaxed death benefits for their beneficiary. Long-term care insurance remains an intimidating prospect to many of our clients, while others remain unaware of their potential need for it. But as it becomes more necessary, and with expanded options, we have an opportunity to provide clarity and comfort around a topic that too often brings a clear threat to retirement dignity and dreams of leaving a legacy to loved ones. Philip E. Harriman, CLU, ChFC, is the co-founder of Lebel & Harriman, Falmouth, Maine, and has been an MDRT member for 37 years. He served as MDRT’s 2007 Executive Committee President, is a Top of the Table qualifier and a life MDRT member. He is also member of the Association of Advanced Life Underwriting and was the 2000 recipient of the J. Putnam Stevens Award. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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July 2019 » InsuranceNewsNet Magazine 55
More than 850 financial services companies in more than 70 countries turn to LIMRA first to help them build their businesses and improve their performance.
Fighting Fraud Is The New Neighborhood Watch How companies prepare their customers for a fraudulent attack and how they work with them afterward could be important factors directing the future of their relationship. By Gina Birchall
seems as though we hear about fraud everywhere today — credit card fraud, fraud against seniors, insurance fraud. It’s as prevalent as ever. Fraud is also a significant concern for consumers and companies; one in four American consumers is a victim of financial fraud. According to LIMRA research, 79% of consumers are concerned about financial fraud, with 36% admitting that they are very concerned. What is fraud, anyway? At LIMRA and LOMA, we define “fraud” as “an intentional act of deception or misrepresentation, resulting in financial or other losses for consumers and companies in the course of seemingly legitimate business transactions.” Consumers believe preventing fraud should be a higher priority for more companies. Our research shows more than two-thirds of consumers wish companies would tell them more about their current efforts to combat fraud, and more than three-quarters believe that financial service companies should do more to protect retirement accounts from fraudulent activity. It’s a situation that worries companies and customers alike. Not only are fraud attacks in the financial services industry on the rise, but the frequency of fraud attacks and their level of sophistication are increasing. That’s according to LOMA’s 2018 report “Current State Of Fraud In Life Insurance, Annuities And Retirement Plans.” As financial services firms are particularly vulnerable to fraudulent 56 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine » July 2019
schemes, keeping up with increasingly sophisticated criminals is one of the greatest challenges facing the financial services industry today. Successful fraud prevention does not create competitive advantage; rather, it is an industry problem that demands cooperative industry solutions. An attack against one is a threat to all. Our members are concerned and recognize the need to come together and take an offensive stance against the common enemy. Last year, LIMRA and LOMA initiated the formation of an organized community among our member companies to do just that. In June 2018, we brought a community of fraud experts from 32 U.S. member companies together in Windsor, Conn., to begin this important conversation and define a common defense. A few months later, we hosted a groundbreaking hackathon where 30-plus fraud prevention experts and developers from member companies participated in the creation of an industrywide fraud prevention platform. The result? FraudShare, an information-sharing and alert system that provides our members with alerts on fraud scheme threat levels, industry fraud experience benchmarks and access to a community of fraud prevention professionals.
The system ingests data about fraud incidents from participating companies into a secure, centralized database. It then analyzes the data and generates real-time alerts to designated users, including those in charge of fraud prevention, special investigations and customer-facing operations at member companies. The FraudShare database and alerts are highly actionable, simplifying a user’s fraud prevention efforts.
On its surface, FraudShare is a fraud information clearinghouse and alert system. But it is also a means of connecting fraud prevention operatives from across the industry. FraudShare is founded on the principle that we are stronger together. Like a good neighborhood watch, FraudShare members can look out for each other and protect the industry at large. It is an innovative, easy-to-use tool for cross-industry communication about the types and frequency of account takeover fraud taking place in individual life, individual annuity and retirement plans. Built with input from a cross-section of the insurance and retirement industries, and a governance committee made up of 10 companies, FraudShare is made by the industry, for the industry. As we come together to fight the common enemy, financial services companies also have an opportunity to come together with their customers. There is a lot on the line for everyone involved, from both a financial and a reputational standpoint. It’s no longer a question of if a fraud attempt will be made, but when. How companies prepare their customers for a fraudulent attack and how they work with them afterward could be important factors directing the future of their relationship. Financial service companies know that increasing customer security is the most important part of their fraud prevention work. However, if customers in their neighborhood don’t feel more secure, the anti-fraud work may very well miss its mark. Gina Birchall is chief operating officer, LIMRA and LOMA. She is responsible for LIMRA’s and LOMA’s legal and accounting departments, information technology, marketing, talent solutions, and member relations. Gina may be contacted at gina. email@example.com.
Declare Your Independence
Hall of Fame, Fall of Shame: Six Stories of Million-Dollar Glory and Flagrant Financial Fouls.