Legal & General America continues to back market-leading competitive position and solid operating performance with exceptional financial strength ratings from three of the world’s top ratings agencies.
A.M. Best reaffirmed ‘A+ (Superior) Financial Strength Rating for Banner Life and William Penn
Standard & Poor’s reaffirmed ‘AA-‘ (Very Strong) Financial Strength Rating for Banner Life and William Penn
Fitch Ratings reaffirmed the Insurer Financial Strength (IFS) Rating for Banner Life and William Penn at ‘AA-‘
COMDEX Score ’95’
*All ratings shown are current as of January 15, 2021
This page will continue to be updated as restrictions are lifted.
All Underwriting Updates
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After a recent analysis of the macroeconomic trends facing the long-term care (LTC) insurance industry, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue sales of our individual LTC insurance policies in all states. As many of you well know, the distribution landscape for LTC insurance has shrunk significantly since the peak of the industry in 2002. Today, there are far fewer outlets through which individual LTC insurance is sold, impacting the growth potential of the product. In addition, consumer demand for individual LTC insurance has fallen and remains stagnant. These trends, combined with the significant capital requirements of the LTC insurance business, are the primary reasons for this decision, which was not taken lightly.
Please refer to the following schedule of important dates relating to the wind-down of current cases.
- December 2nd, 2016 – last day to submit ‘in good order’ applications. (11:59 ET for applications submitted electronically and/or must be received by December 2nd if mailed). Please note LTC Quick Quotes will be discontinued effective immediately.
- December 16th, 2016 – last day to complete paramedical exams.
- February 10th, 2017 – all policies must be issued and paid for.
Please note that the decision to discontinue new sales does not impact our in-force LTC insurance business. We will continue to honor our commitments and provide high-quality service and support to our existing LTC insurance policyholders and their families for many years to come.
We continue to believe in the importance and value of providing LTC protection for Americans, so as we look ahead, we will focus on offering LTC coverage as an accelerated benefit rider on our wide range of life insurance products, which has become an increasingly popular option for customers in recent years.
We appreciate your long-standing support and partnership in providing our individual LTC insurance to Americans over the years, and to thank you for your business.
“Genworth Financial, Inc. GNW recently announced that it has inked a definitive agreement with China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co., Ltd. to be acquired by the latter for $2.7 billion or $5.43 per share in cash. The transaction will be executed via Asia Pacific Global Capital Co. Ltd., one of China Oceanwide’s investment platforms. The deal is expected to culminate by the middle of 2017 upon fulfillment of closing conditions.”
GNW Recently Announced. “Genworth and China Oceanwide Sign $2.7B Acquisition Deal.” Genworth and China Oceanwide Sign $2.7B Acquisition Deal. Yahoo! Finance, 24 Oct. 2016. Web. 27 Oct. 2016.
Objections. Some are real. Some are not. The question is: How do you deal with and answer the objection to close the sale? People write books on answering objections, and I don’t have the space here to deal with them all, so let me tell you what I do when the prospect starts throwing out objections.
First, what are the basic objections? No need, no money, no hurry, no confidence. Everything else is a variation of these. Let’s explore:
No need. While many people feel they don’t need life insurance, they do need what life insurance creates. Money. Certainty. Dignity. Peace of mind. If the client has the time, he or she may be able to earn the cash required. But if they don’t get the time and die too soon, life insurance creates the cash. It’s the only product guaranteed to create the cash when the family or company needs it the most.
No money. “I can’t afford the premium.” If the prospect can’t pay the premium, which is just pennies on the dollar, how can the family or company solve the problem? They will need dollars, and those dollars may cost more than a dollar when taxes and other costs are factored in.
There may be assets that can be liquidated, but at what cost? If a business rival knows the prospect needs to sell an asset, and is interested in buying this asset, he will want to negotiate the lowest price possible, and this may be less than the current market value. With life insurance, the beneficiaries know with certainty what they will be receiving.
No hurry. “I would like to wait.” Why? What will change between now and next week? This is what I say to prospects: “I appreciate your wanting to take the time to make an informed decision, but while you are thinking it over, let’s find out if you qualify for the coverage.”
Remind you client that there is a cost for everything, including waiting: “The longer you wait, the more the insurance costs. Let’s at least guarantee your insurability to buy you the time to make this decision.”
Let me share with you a story of a client who almost waited too long. Each year for 10 years I met with my client to do his insurance review. Each year I tried to convince him of the wisdom of completing his estate planning and purchasing insurance to provide for estate liquidity with the help of experts in the field like estate planning lawyers based in Phoenix . Each year he said no. Then one day I received a call asking me to meet him at his home to talk about the insurance I had been proposing for the past 10 years. One can see here to get an attorney involved to make things easier.
My first question to him was what had changed to make him reconsider the insurance. He told me he had just been diagnosed with a terminal disease and now realized he needed to complete the planning neglected over the previous years. And now he wants to buy insurance! This is one of the main reasons why hiring a professional lawyer for financial legacy planning is important.
Finding out you are uninsurable does expedite the decision making process. Fortunately, we were able to underwrite a second-to-die policy at a reasonable rate with his wife who was a preferred risk, but he almost waited too long.
No confidence. Sometimes the objection from the client is nothing more than a polite way of saying that he or she has no confidence in your suggestions. Perhaps you didn’t take enough time to properly determine the true problems the prospect was concerned about before you made a sales suggestion. The prospect must be disturbed by a problem before action can be taken. Perhaps your suggestions did not quite fit what the prospect was looking for in a financial solution.
Remember, you must determine your prospects wants, needs and desires, and each of these may require a different solution. It’s your job to ask the disturbing questions to encourage the prospects to discuss what problems are of most concern to them today. Then you can make appropriate recommendations to solve the problems in order of priority. You must earn their trust and confidence by doing what is right for them.
One thing to remember as you go to your next appointment: You can’t sell insurance to people who do not care.
U.S. Department of Labor’s Conflict of Interest Rule is a hot and controversial topic in the financial services profession. Since the rule was finalized in April 2016, its reception has been predictably divisive. Already, the first of what will likely be a parade of lawsuits has been filed, aiming to stop, dismantle or delay the rule from taking effect next year. Legal hurdles in place, the industry and consumers alike will know soon enough if the DOL rule has strong enough legs.
However, waiting for the outcome of a challenge before preparing for the implementation of the rule should remind us of the fable of the hardworking ant and the carefree grasshopper. While the ant diligently prepares, the grasshopper spends the summer singing the days away and finds itself unprepared to survive through winter.
Let’s not find ourselves like the grasshopper, outside in the cold, shivering and unprepared come next April’s deadline.
Defining a Fiduciary Duty
The DOL rule expands an existing fiduciary duty to include recommendations concerning retirement assets. This will target IRA account holders, rollovers and those who are acquiring, holding, exchanging or distributing retirement assets. This broad net definition covers just about every working or retired American, from a coffee-shop employee saving $50 weekly into a ROTH IRA, to a small business owner opening her first 401(k) plan, to a corporate officer facing retirement with a few million dollars in a profit sharing plan. All of the above are owed a fiduciary duty of care. A better understanding this fiduciary duty requires a visit to the world of academia.
A fiduciary duty can be illustrated as a relationship between two parties. Writing in the Journal of Financial Economics, authors Jensen and Meckling set up the discussion of principal and agent conflicts in their 1974 publication,”Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure.”
According to Jensen and Meckling, a client (young employee, business owner, retiree) is viewed as the principal. The principal has an interest in retirement. It may be accumulation of capital, developing an income strategy, meeting bequest motives, developing an appropriate risk tolerance, or a combination of motives. In financial planning we refer to this interest as helping the client understand and meet his specific goals. The counterpart to a principal is an agent. The agent may be an insurance agent, investment adviser, broker, banker or other financial service professional. The agent also has a set of goals and motivations, such as profit, sustainability, growth and financial success.
The Conflict Over ‘Conflict of Interest’
The principal/agent model has natural conflicts. An agent has a set of best interests (success and profit) which may not lead to the principal best realizing his goals and dreams. The model is often complicated by including firm interests, such as the interest of the shareholders or the interest of the policy owners of an insurance company. Multiple interests can be in conflict. The conflict between agents, principals and firms can resolve itself in any number of ways. One party could win at the expense of the others, a natural market may develop that balances interests, or a regulatory policy can be imposed on a principal, agent, and firm to ensure consumer interests are met. When we view the DOL fiduciary rule, we need to consider this framework.
The Department of Labor stated that retirees and accumulators (principals) were vulnerable, and this vulnerability was leading to excess costs and fees. The excess costs and fees, coupled with increases in consumer longevity, contributed to underfunded or unsafe retirement strategies. Enforcing a fiduciary standard requires all parties (principals, agents and firms) to align their interests to that of the principal. Requiring a fiduciary standard puts profit and growth secondary to meeting the financial planning goals of a client, which is the first priority. The fiduciary standard is in place to ensure that consumers, who may not have as much knowledge as the professionals they work with, will not be taken advantage of because of the information asymmetry inherent in the relationship. In other words, the Department of Labor is requiring financial planners to work in the best interest of their clients, rather than in the best interest of themselves.
And this leads to the core of the rule. The DOL questions certain compensation structures that might lead to biased advice. Commissions, assets under management models, even hourly fees have the potential to create conflicts between principals and agents. Conflicted compensation is prohibited under the new rule, unless the agent works under a prohibited transaction exemption. The DOL can then influence the principal/agent relationship by setting specific processes and rules regulating the allowable uses of prohibited transactions. The DOL is not trying to discredit the financial services industry with this rule. It is, instead, attempting to set specific parameters around the retirement advice provided to potentially vulnerable consumers.
The Grasshopper and the Ant
Additional challenges will likely come forward as the rule’s deadline continues to approach. Phase one of the rule rolls out April 10, 2017; the remaining phase requires compliance by January 1, 2018. Challenges may adjust the timeline and the details of the possible prohibited transaction exemptions (BICE, 84-24), but are not likely to change the rule’s overarching alignment of principal, agent and firm interests.
Remember, the ant prepares for change in seasons, stores food and devises strategies for survival. Let’s not take the short-sighted perspective of the grasshopper when preparing for the future of financial planning.
Take a lesson from the ant and recognize the opportunities that exist today to create new models and procedures that will benefit not only the profession, but also the retirement security of the clients whose best interests we are pledged to serve.
Text by Craig Lemoine, PhD, CFP®, Director of The American College Northwestern Mutual Granum Center for Financial Security.
For the original article, click here.
In a time where we can have almost anything by simply tapping a small electronic device, many consumers have adapted to a “quick and easy” world. But at what point is quick and easy not the right decision and when should a consumer be okay with that?
Life insurance is a valuable tool in a family’s overall financial/risk management plan and the “quick and easy” message is the driving force around the industry’s focus on a simplified issue product. But how effective is it? According to a recent study conducted by LIMRA, this “quick and easy” messaging actually doesn’t resonate with many individuals and in fact, could backfire if insurers aren’t careful. The study finds that consumers who received the “quick and easy” message rated it as the least effective message when deciding whether or not to purchase life insurance.
Additionally, the study found that 73 percent of consumers said an acceptable wait time to receive a life insurance policy was two weeks.
Before sending out the “quick and easy” message, take time to get to know your applicants and listen to what their life insurance needs really are.
See original article by clicking here.
MAR 17, 2016 | BY BRIAN TRACY
If you asked your clients to rate their satisfaction with your service, would they give you wonderful reviews?
A direct sale to a customer today can cost more than $400 in terms of time, travel, advertising, lead generation, and other expenses. Acquiring a customer at this cost can put a company out of business unless that customer buys again and again.
The best salespeople and the best companies implement strategies to acquire clients and to keep them for life.
Your goal must be to develop long-term client relationships and then hold on to them in the face of ever more aggressive competition.
When you install a client acquisition and retention strategy, you must do more to build and maintain long-term client relationships than ever before.
By continually thinking in terms of “clients for life,” your success in sales will be assured.
I want to share four of my favorite tips with you, so you can increase client satisfaction and keep them for life.
1) Always focus on the second sale
The first sale with any client is always the hardest and most expensive. But, it is the second that is the most important…
The second sale is the proof that you have delivered on the promises you made during the first sale.
In reality, you actually go out each day and you sell your promises to people in exchange for their money. You promise that your product or service will give them certain benefits that they are not currently enjoying.
When they come back and buy from you again, they are putting their stamp of approval on your offerings and confirming that you did deliver on your promises.
2) Resales and referrals are almost free
Resales to satisfied clients are ten times easier than new sales to new clients. A resale only requires one-tenth of the time and effort to achieve.
This is why most successful companies measure their success by how often their customers buy again.
A referral from a satisfied client is 15 times easier to sell to than a cold call. Selling to a referral requires only one-fifteenth of the time, cost, and effort to make. In fact, if you have a good referral, the sale is 90 percent made before you walk in the door.
3) Create a golden chain of satisfaction and referrals
Once you have made the sale and the customer is happy, develop a “golden chain of referrals” by asking everyone to refer you to other interested prospects.
Ask confidently. Ask expectantly. Ask courteously, but always ask customers – and even non-customers – if they can refer someone else to you.
When asking people for a referral, assure them that you will put no pressure on the person whose name they are providing. People are hesitant about sharing referrals until they are convinced that the friend or associate that they are referring will not be unhappy or angry with them for giving you their name.
4) Generate word-of-mouth advertising
The most powerful method for you to generate referrals in today’s competitive marketplace is by triggering word-of-mouth on the part of your happy customers. Your aim is to make your clients part of your sales force by getting them to actually sell for you when they talk to other prospective customers.
But how can you motivate them to do this? The way that you motivate your clients to sell for you is by giving them outstanding customer service.
The most important element of outstanding customer service is always speed. A speedy response to questions, concerns, and inquiries is a key measure of how many referrals you are likely to get.
Fast, continuous client care are essential tools for getting referrals. And remember to practice the golden rule of selling: Serve your clients the way you would like your suppliers to serve you. Serve your clients the way you would serve your spouse, your mother, or your closest friend.
Go the extra mile.
Always do more than is expected.
For the original article, please click here.
BY TOM NAWROCKI
Now permanent qualified distribution rules allow charitably inclined clients to make sizable, long-term arrangements.
Back in 2006, Congress passed legislation enabling clients to make charitable donations directly from their IRAs, but there was an unfortunate twist: the law’s qualified charitable distribution rules would sunset every few years.
That allowed many wealthy Americans to make donations from their IRAs. But the sun-setting also made long-term planning difficult, since no one could be sure that this provision would be around 10 or 20 years into the future.
That’s all changed. The budget deal that Congress reached back in December made the QCD provision permanent, enabling charitably inclined clients to make sizable, long-term arrangements.
So the question arises: Who is best positioned to take advantage of the QCD? Some clients could simply include their IRA distribution in their gross income, then donate the distribution to a charity and take the tax deduction. But without the QCD, that strategy only works for taxpayers who whose charitable contributions are less than 50 percent of their gross income.
Who else can benefit from this? If your clients find themselves in one of following 5 situations, they may wish to know more about the QCD:
(1) People needing to reduce their adjusted gross income. The provision allows IRA holders aged 70½ or older to make direct donations of up to $100,000 annually without first taking taxable withdrawals from their accounts.
That means households can make larger contributions before hitting the maximum tax deduction. Perhaps the most significant benefit: the amount of the donation is not included in AGI.
(2) Clients who don’t need to take their IRA distributions for living expenses. Anything the client donates through a QCD counts as part of the annual required minimum distributions that must be taken from IRAs starting at age 70½. So IRA owners who do not need the distributions for income could make use of the tax benefit.
(3) Only individuals who’ve attained age 70½ may make QCDs. If the client reaches that age during the course of the year, they must wait until after their half-birthday to make the QCD transfer.
Clients who want to donate more than the prescribed limits to charity. The $100,000 maximum QCD does not apply to the charitable deduction limit. This may be able to help some clients make charitable contributions in excess of 50 percent of their adjusted gross income.
(4) Clients with stock that hasn’t appreciated much. Anything that is donated to charity via a QCD will be considered deferred taxable income. Donating appreciated securities directly to a charitable organization provides a double tax benefit. Not only are the contributions deductible, but no tax is owed for the appreciation in the securities.
A QCD doesn’t provide the same benefit. But if the appreciated value of the stock is small (or even negative), the client might as well take advantage of the other benefits the QCD offers.
(5) Clients who do not already donate to donor-advised funds. The only eligible recipients of QCD donations are public charities. It’s also worth pointing out: The procedure is fairly exacting. To make a contribution, the trustee or custodian for the client’s IRA must make a transfer from the IRA directly to charity. The money must come directly from the IRA; the transaction doesn’t qualify if the trustee or custodian puts the IRA money into a non-IRA account of the client’s, such as a checking account, before the money goes to the charity.
The law also doesn’t provide a way to correct mistakes, so it has to be done correctly the first time. It’s critical to get a letter of acknowledgment from the charity so that there’s a record of what happened should the IRS ever decide to investigate the transaction.
Most clients won’t fall under all of these parameters, so there will be a small population that is able to take advantage of the new permanence of the QCD. But all clients with IRAs, and all those making sizable charitable deductions, will appreciate knowing about the strategy.
For the original article from lifehealthpro.com from February 18, 2016, click here.
More features by Tom Nawrocki: