It's debatable if the fiduciary standard is 'higher' than suitability. But the better question might be, who's holding the bar?
By Cyril Tuohy
Genworth Financial, the mortgage, life insurance and long-term care insurance giant, has launched The Index Institute, a virtual learning community for agents, brokers and financial advisors, the company announced.
The institute is designed to provide intermediaries with information about indexed life insurance products and indexed annuity product training, market data, information and new ideas to help increase sales, the company also said.
“During extensive research with producers, they told us they needed resources to more easily help them bring the benefits of indexed products to their clients,” Pat Foley, president of U.S. life distribution and marketing at Genworth, said in a statement.
Sales of indexed products over the past six years have soared. Indexed universal life insurance sales have grown to $1.5 billion in 2012 from $330 million in 2006. Indexed annuities finished 2012 with $33.9 billion in sales, up 5 percent from 2011, according to LIMRA statistics.
Despite a first quarter 2013 sales decline, indexed annuities are recording robust year-over-year growth driven in part by private equity firms buying ownership stakes in companies selling indexed annuities.
Life and annuity experts say indexed products can play an important role – but not the only role – in a diversified retirement planning strategy. With the leading edge of the 78 million strong baby boom generation retiring in droves, Genworth’s Index Institute represents the latest initiative to prepare for the long-term needs of an entire generation and the producers who sell to them.
The online community will allow producers of indexed products to share ideas and strategies to help them “better counsel their clients on the role index products can play in helping them achieve their financial goals,” Charlie Gipple, national director of index products at Genworth, said.
Gipple, in a webinar on indexed life and annuities, said the institute had taken “hundreds and hundreds of man hours,” to develop.
The top sellers of indexed life products in the first quarter were AEGON, Pacific Life, National Western Life, AXA Equitable and National Life Group, according to Wink’s Sales & Market Report. The top sellers of indexed annuities in the first quarter were Allianz Life, Security Benefit Life, American Equity, Aviva USA and Jackson National Life, according to Wink’s.
Genworth, which recently introduced a new indexed universal life insurance product, Asset Builder Index UL, already offers indexed annuities branded as SecureLiving Index 5, Index 7 and Index 10 Plus.
Cyril Tuohy is a writer based in Pennsylvania. He has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. He can be reached at Cyril.Tuohy@innfeedback.com.
© Entire contents copyright 2013 by InsuranceNewsNet.com Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted without the expressed written consent from InsuranceNewsNet.com.