Clarification: Annexus Retirement Solutions and the Lifetime Income Builder IP to imbed an annuity in a target date fund are being spun off as part of the Integrity acquisition of Annexus and will become its own independent company as a result.
In its latest aggressive expansion move, Integrity Marketing Group is acquiring Annexus Group in what one industry analyst is calling "a game-changer."
Terms were not disclosed, but rumors of the impending acquisition exploded on LinkedIn Tuesday. As part of the transaction, Ron Shurts, co-founder and CEO of Annexus, will become a managing partner in Integrity. Previous Annexus investors, including funds managed by Blackstone, will sell their interests as part of the transaction, Integrity said in a news release.
The marriage combines Integrity, a insurance distribution company with ties to 450,000 agents and more than $20 billion in assets under management, and Annexus, a product design and distribution company with $45 billion in combined sales and partnerships with some of the biggest companies in the industry.
“This will be a game-changer for Integrity," said Sheryl Moore, founder and CEO of Moore Market Intelligence. "This makes them an annuity heavyweight.”
Co-founded by Shurts and Don Dady in 2006, Annexus has served over half a million Americans with their retirement needs, the release noted. In 2022, Annexus expects to place approximately $7 billion in annuity premium and $150 million in target life insurance premium.
A Dallas-based life, health and annuity distributor, Integrity also formed in 2006 and grew rapidly through acquisitions.
Annexus is one of the top annuity innovators in the business and touts itself as "the No. 1 independent retirement planning product design and distribution company in America." In recent months, the company developed the Annexus Lifetime Income Builder annuitization program and signed a major deal for it with State Street Global Advisors.
The Income Builder platform paves the way for lifetime income options within employee retirement plans -- a substantial market. In-plan annuities were boosted when Congress passed the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act, or Secure Act, in 2019.
The Annexus Retirement Solutions unit is also participating in an in-plan annuitization project with Nationwide.
“Since its founding, Annexus has been the market leader in developing annuity and life insurance products with the highest level of service in the industry," said Integrity CEO Bryan W. Adams. "Joining the Integrity platform will provide the experienced team at Annexus with a comprehensive suite of technology, resources and support to layer on top of their already exceptional systems and processes. The partnership will give Integrity access to Annexus’ deep product development and distribution partnership expertise, which will greatly enhance our mission to help more Americans prepare for the good days ahead. It’s an ideal match that will elevate the way insurance and financial planning products are developed and distributed."
Integrity claims to be "the nation’s leading independent distributor of life and health insurance products" serving about 10 million Americans. Former NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young serves as chairman of the board for Integrity, whose day-to-day operations are led by co-founder Adams.
Integrity foreshadowed a ramp-up of distribution by hiring Tom Dempsey to be its chief distribution officer in late June. Dempsey came from the Transamerica Financial Network, which is Transamerica's distribution arm, where he headed a force of about 60,000 agents.
As part of that acquisition, Patrick Bet-David, founder and CEO of PHP Agency, will become a managing partner at Integrity. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
PHP, which stands for "People Helping People," serves nearly half a million Americans nationwide by offering life and annuity products through its team of more than 27,000 agents.
In March 2021, Integrity acquired Brokers International, which doubled Integrity’s annual paid premium from $3.5 to $7 billion and gave it a substantial piece of the annuity market.
Through Integrity’s platform, Annexus will gain access to a breadth and depth of proprietary technology and resources, the release said. These include industry-leading real-time quoting and enrollment systems, customer relationship management software and ongoing product development. Integrity partners are supported by a substantial infrastructure that streamlines business services and administration. Services include areas such as People & Culture, Technology & Innovation, legal and compliance, and access to Integrity’s world-class advertising and marketing firm.
“By leveraging our respective strengths, we see unbelievable growth potential for both of our companies," Shurts said in the release. "Carriers, advisors and clients need the products and services we provide more than ever. When it comes to improving lives, there is no finish line. We’re committed to helping every American enjoy a safer and more secure retirement, and partnering with Integrity will help us amplify and accelerate toward that goal.”
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 protected] Follow him on Twitter @INNJohnH.