Ready for a change?

Have you been watching the financial markets lately? It seems that volatility has returned in a big way which is great for CNBC. However, it can be a little scary for most of our clients. It’s also a good time to discuss crediting strategies for indexed annuities. The S&P 500 point to point options have become very popular over the years, because the index is recognizable and they are easiest to explain. Nevertheless, the S&P 500 options are steadily becoming overshadowed by alternative strategies.

Maintaining a diversified portfolio is considered an effective strategy in reducing risk. One carrier we partner with offers an index option using underlying components consisting of Equity, Bond Futures indices and Commodity indices. It shifts its underlying components and uses rules based methodology on a daily basis for the highest return given a level of volatility. Also included is a risk control mechanism which seeks to maintain a 5% volatility target on a daily basis and constantly reduces the weight of the portfolio and rebalances it with a cash component.

New strategies provide a compelling story as to why the index may outperform the more common S&P index. It may be uncomfortable to think about changing your strategy recommendations, but we’re here to help walk you through it. These strategies can be a nice compliment to what you are already using in your business practice, and diversification is a word that clients are hearing a lot about in financial news reporting.

Bonus or No Bonus Annuity

Presented by David Corwin

I think I’d take the latter – let me explain why. I’ve been in this ever changing Indexed annuity world for several years now and not unlike any other aspect of the insurance world, it is constantly changing. I’ve worked with hundreds of agents in my career. I work with some agents that only write bonus contracts. I’ve compared two of the best selling products with a particular carrier; one with a bonus and one without. I used the same index strategy and time period and the results were quite alarming. The bonus product that offers a 10% premium bonus netted $151k at the end of 20 years and the product without a bonus was over $215k. Why is this you ask? Well, I will tell you that typically on bonus products the commission rate is higher and thus the cap rates are lower than on a non-bonus product. This can result in much better performance long term.

Keeping up to date

Presented by Jim Linn

Whether you are new to the industry or a veteran, there are areas regarding your licensing and contracting that need to be monitored.

1.     Most insurance licenses are valid for 2-3 years depending on the state.  If you cannot locate your printed copy, you can go to your state’s insurance department website and look yourself up or go to www.nipr.com

2.     CE credits:  Don’t forget to get your CE credits done in advance of your renewal.  Too many times we get calls from agents that need their CE completed by the end of the week or even the next day.  There are several online options to help complete your CE and typically you can find courses or seminars offered to earn them as well. 

3.     Anti-Money Laundering (AML):  Depending on the carrier, it is required anywhere from 1-3 years.  Some carriers offer their own specific AML or require their own training program.  In general, most carriers accept AML training completed through LIMRA.  Keep in mind that they no longer offer a printed certificate of completion so you may need to take a screen shot as proof of completion.

4.     E&O Insurance:  renews annually and is required by most carriers.  If we do not have a current E&O certificate on file, it may hinder your contracting process. 

5.     Change of Address:  In most states you have 30 days to notify the insurance department of your change in address.  The easiest way to make this update is by going to www.nipr.com.  You can update multiple states at one time if licensed in several states. 

By making sure these areas are up to date, you will not only keep your license in good standing, but also help in expediting any carrier contracting requirements.