Med Supp Use Continues to Rise

Businessman analyzing growing 3D AR chart floating above digital tablet computer screen, showing successful increase in business profitBy Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor – May 18, 2018

The number of people with Medicare Supplement (Medigap) insurance increased to 13.6 million in 2017, up from 13.1 million a year earlier, according to the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance. Med Supp plan use has increased 40% since 2010, said AAMSI.

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Agent Annuity Commissions Rose in Q1

Loving senior couple dancing in balcony. Happy man and woman are spending leisure time together. They are at home.By Cyril Tuohy – InsuranceNewsNet – May 29, 2018

Here’s some good news for agents selling fixed annuities: the products paid a bit more in the first quarter than they did last year. Agents selling indexed annuities did well on two fronts: not only did indexed annuity commissions rise, agents sold a lot more indexed annuities, compared with the year-ago quarter, and compared to Q4 ‘17, Wink reported.

With regulatory challenges now behind them, indexed annuity sales are expected to resume with momentum, and possibly break sales records set in 2016, analysts said.

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Insurers Report Strong Q1 Annuity Sales

By Cyril Tuohy – InsuranceNewsNet – May 16, 2018

Climbing Concept up a mountain top After several uneven quarters for annuity sales, insurers are reporting a strong Q1 in earnings calls. Official sales statistics for the overall market are expected next week, but across several top annuity sellers a peek into their sales numbers augurs well.

Barely a week after the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals effectively killed the DOL Rule, the Federal Reserve raised its short-term benchmark lending rate by a quarter point; rising rates make fixed annuities more attractive to retirement investors, and rates have been climbing steadily since 2016 as the economy improves. LIMRA will report Q1 sales numbers next week, and Wink’s will follow by the end of the month.

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Retirement Health Care Costs Up Again

By Fidelity Investments – April 19, 2018

Couple looking upset at calculator and paperworkA 65-year old couple retiring this year will need $280,000 to cover health care and medical expenses throughout retirement, according to Fidelity Investments’ 16th annual retiree health care cost estimate. This represents a 2% increase from 2017, and a 75% increase from Fidelity’s first estimate in 2002 of $160,000.

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SEC Tentatively OKs Fiduciary Proposal

By Nick ThorntonBenefitsPro – April 19, 2018

Fiduciary Duty written on piece of paperThe Securities and Exchange Commission voted to release a three-pronged proposed rule for public comment that could change the standard of conduct broker-dealers and annuity sellers owe retail investors; that would require new client disclosures for all investment providers; and that might reinterpret the requirements of fiduciary advice. The public will have 90 days to comment after the proposal is published in the Federal Register this week.

The SEC’s actions are similar to but separate from the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule; while the SEC commissioners did not directly mention the failed Department of Labor fiduciary rulemaking effort – which would have gone even further to tamp down on investment industry conflicts of interest than the emerging SEC proposal – they did speak about the importance of alleviating investor confusion about the differences between “advisers” and “brokers,” and about who is a fiduciary in what circumstances.

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