What is on your bucket list? Or maybe the more important question is how will you pay to live out those dreams?
The answer could be an annuity, according to the Bucket List campaign coming this summer from the Alliance for Lifetime Income awareness campaign. Consumers can use their savings for the fun stuff of life while an annuity ensures a dependable income that combined with Social Security and other fixed income covers the mundane monthly bills.
“It comes with our tagline ‘That's what an annuity can do,’” said Jean Statler, ALI CEO. “It could allow you to fulfill some of the things in your bucket list.”
The alliance found that the message resonated with consumers in multiple tests, said Cyrus Bamji, ALI’s head of communications.
It is part of the alliance’s push to connect annuities with the real life of retirement and saying “annuities” out loud in the public arena. The nonprofit awareness group, whose members are insurance and financial companies, has sponsored ads and promotions on different media, including National Public Radio, along with other outreach and resources.
The alliance plans to take the Bucket List message on a summer trip to events such as balloon rallies to be where people are, Statler said. The alliance has not yet released details of the campaign.
In 2019, the alliance took a bold path by being the sole sponsor of The Rolling Stones’ tour, bringing the income protection message to arenas. Many of the “kids” who rocked out to the early Stones in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s are in the prime annuity target range.
“It gave us a great boost, in terms of the 1.5 million people walking through those gates in 2019,” Staler said. “All of them, if they didn't have an annuity should have an annuity, or at least they should be open to talking about it. So, we piggyback on big events like that.”
The alliance also plans The Great Retirement Debates to talk over the question “is there a retirement crisis in America?” Although details have not yet been released, the first one in the series is a webinar in partnership with The Wall Street Journal.
Annuities had a tough 2020 generally, although there were some breakout stars. Registered index-linked annuities have been smashing sales records, building to overtake the mighty fixed index annuity.
In the fixed camp, multi-year guaranteed annuities are doing comparatively well, but overall sales have been down. That has more to do with the pressure of permanently low interest rates and the pandemic lockdown than public perception.
With awareness campaigns, return on investment is difficult to quantify. Although Statler would not reveal the alliance’s budget, the organization did report collecting $27 million in dues in its 2019 tax filings, the latest available.
The alliance points to more fair treatment in consumer media as an indicator of shifting public perception since the organization started a media outreach campaign four years ago. In the past month, the alliance has seen about 80 articles that were at least neutral about annuities as opposed to two negative ones.
“In terms of the ROI is on the program, the one that's most significant is when we started four years ago, within a year, we completely changed the media conversation from being somewhat negative to overwhelmingly neutral and positive,” Statler said. “Our belief is that when it's neutral and objective about the pros and cons of annuity, we win. When we started, and why they formed the alliance to begin with, we weren't getting a fair shake.”
Steven A. Morelli is a contributing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. He has more than 25 years of experience as a reporter and editor for newspapers and magazines. He was also vice president of communications for an insurance agents’ association. Steve can be reached at [email protected]