Mutual of Omaha – All in on LTC

 

Mutual of Omaha
From the Desk of Adam Walling

In light of recent announcements, we want to assure our distribution partners that Mutual of Omaha continues to be committed to the Long Term Care Insurance market.  We believe that LTCi provides value through product profitability and company diversification.

The product aligns with our mission to help our customers protect what they care about and achieve their financial goals.  We believe that it is a growing market with demographic tailwinds and no viable government alternative.

We thank you for your continued business and look forward to another successful year.

Adam Walling
Product Performance Director
(800) 693-6083
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Fiduciary Rule Under Trump- Jeopardy?

“It’s really hard to predict what a Trump administration would look like on these

issues because there are so few specifics out there.”

Donald Trump’s upset victory sets the stage to overturn signature aspects of President Obama’s legacy on financial matters, including the Department of Labor’s fiduciary regulation, which is set to be phased in starting in April.

“The rule could be in jeopardy,” says Barbara Roper, director of Investor Protection at the Consumer Federation of America, an investor advocacy group.

Reversing the fiduciary standard on retirement accounts, which would upend firms’ costly efforts to comply with the regulation, is not a foregone conclusion. Although Trump stated his opposition repeatedly to Obama’s policies, he often refrained from spelling out his proposals in detail during the campaign.

The Trump campaign says on its website it would put a moratorium on new regulations and require federal agencies to prepare a list of all regulations, from most to least critical. “Least-critical regulations will receive priority consideration for repeal,” the website says.

“It’s really hard to predict what a Trump administration would look like on these issues because there are so few specifics out there,” Roper says.

Fiduciary rule ‘in jeopardy’ under Trump | Financial Planning

Rolling back the regulation would upend the plans of many brokerage and advisory firms, which have been spending heavily to prepare their systems and advisers for it.

Merrill Lynch, which has said it will cease offering commission-based IRAs to comply with the rule, has even created a fiduciary-based advertising campaign: “This is a positive step forward for the industry and great news for investors. At Merrill Lynch we support it wholeheartedly.”

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Financial Institution Status?

As many of you know, we have been closely monitoring the DOL situation and how it will affect our industry, our reps and our standing as an IMO. We have been diligently working with industry experts to prepare for what is coming in 2017. Working closely with our Partners in IDA, as well as some of our Synergy Partners, we have a real plan of action no matter what direction we need to go in. No matter what direction YOU need to go in.

Our biggest idea that we can bring to you is this- don’t panic! There is no one in our industry who can tell you with any certainty exactly what will happen and what is needed for preparing for the New Post DOL world. There are just more questions. Even with the release of the DOL Q & A last week, we still don’t have definitive answers. Be patient. Keep your head up and listen to people who you trust. Now is not the time to jump ship based on here say. Stay the course. This is my advise.

Here is some more interesting advise from Sheryl Moore- noted expert in the annuity world.

INTERESTING NEWS FROM THE DOL

October 31, 2016 by Sheryl J. Moore

Dozens of Field Marketing Organizations (FMOs) and Brokerage General Agencies (BGAs) have been contacting me since the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) final fiduciary rule was issued; wanting to know how they too can apply to become a ‘Financial Institution.’ In response, I reached back out to my folks at the DOL, asking for their guidance. In the interim, the 18 marketing organizations that have “applied with the DOL to be a Financial Institution (FI)” have received much press…many of these firms are even recruiting to this.

Today, I finally caught up with a lawyer I’ve been working with at the DOL. Interestingly, he indicates that there is no need for any marketing group or agency to submit an application for FI status. Although the DOL has received 18 applications thus far, it is unnecessary to apply. Ultimately, the DOL will issue an exemption, and if an FMO or BGA complies with the exemption, they will have relief. All one needs to do is notify the agency that they intend to comply with the class exemption.

Now, that being said, the DOL welcomes the conversations that they are having with marketing groups and agencies. However, the DOL’s intent is to provide a larger form of exempted relief, and all a firm needs to do is meet the exemptions.

This attorney could not speak to the date, upon which, such relief may be issued. However, he assured me that it is forthcoming.

So, if your marketing group or agency is tired of hearing from your reps that they are concerned you haven’t applied for FI status…just explain that you don’t need to.

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Building Relationships a Better Way

Most of you who have attended our trainings know that I am a disciple of Thomas Freeze and his “Question Based Selling” approach. Most of what I have learned from his tapes and courses I have adapted to our industry and we cover within our various trainings. Relationship Building is one of his areas of expertise. In his new book “Sales Force 2020” Thomas spends a lot of time updating his ideas for today’s world. Here is a brief overview from the master himself.

Traditional Relationship Building is Overrated

By: Thomas A. Freese

Being outgoing, gregarious, and friendly used to be the savvy salesperson’s ticket to penetrating new accounts. Today, key decision makers on your target list of prospects already have plenty of friends. And, given the sheer volume of solicitations that come in on a daily basis, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the next cold call that gets lobbed in the customer’s direction has only a very small chance of success.

Some of the reason sellers are experiencing such low hit-rates is self-inflicted, by using traditional catch-phrases like, “I would love to…”, or, “I just need a brief moment of your time.” Decision makers know you’re not just looking for a brief moment of their time. They also assume salespeople have quotas to hit and would really “love” to boost their commissions.

No doubt your intentions are good, as most salespeople are earnestly trying to provide value to their customers. The challenge is separating yourself from the countless other solicitations potential buyers receive on a daily basis, and then causing decision makers to “want to” engage with you.

Suppose if it were possible to reverse this trend. What if you could create an 80%+ success rate when reaching out to new prospects, rather than continue enduring the typical 90%+ failure rate? How is this possible, you might ask? Acquiring the skills necessary to fill your pipeline faster, and with more qualified prospects, is actually easier than one might think. But, it does require sellers to have an appreciation of next-generation selling skills, which is very different from just trying to ‘buddy’ your way into potential opportunities. There’s no magic, and God knows old-school sales tricks or gimmicks aren’t going to work moving forward. Instead, there are a few very important questions individual sellers (and entire sales teams) should be asking themselves, like:

  • What are you doing to leverage curiosity to get mind share from key decision makers in target accounts?
  • What Diagnostic Questions™ are you asking to convey credibility?
  • How does opening with a generic elevator pitch differentiate you from competitors who are making similar claims?
  • What are you doing to secure incremental commitments on the way to the larger sale?

When you’re on the receiving end of cold calls at home, I bet you’re not excited about giving information to people you don’t yet know and trust. So, why should we expect the old-school mentality of trying to “befriend” prospective customers, if that strategy no longer works on you or me? Hmmm…

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Life Settlement’s in Court

As a firm, we have not actively marketed Life Settlements. The lack of regulations within the industry and the stain of the aftermath of STOLI has given us good reasons to stay away. That doesn’t mean we don’t still keep our eye on the industry. Certainly there are some situations where a Life Settlement is the best option for a policyholder.

With that in mind we have been watching closely a Florida Supreme Court case between Prudential and a Life Settlement provider. The case was about “insurable interest” and the carrier was arguing that the new owner of the policy did not have an insureable interest and should not be able to profit from the purchase. Here is the latest result of that case:

 

Florida’s Supreme Court hands victory to life settlement market in insurable-interest case

A long-awaited Florida Supreme Court decision went against a major carrier in an insurable-interest case that pitted the life settlement and life insurance industries against each other.

The Thursday, Sept. 22, decision found that three stranger-originated life insurance policies had insurable interest because the original beneficiaries were family members.

And thus the 11-page decision concluded that the policies couldn’t be voided after two years because they had incontestability clauses.

The case, known as the Wells Fargo Bank NA et all vs. Pruco Life Insurance Co., has been closely watched.

“This is a huge, huge decision,” said Tom Sherman, an attorney with the Locke Lord LLP law firm in Atlanta.

“It said, ‘Insurance company, if you have a Stoli argument, you have two years to make it.’ They’re [insurance companies] fighting skirmishes around the country, but they’re less important now with California, Florida and Texas off the table,” he added.

New York also is on the same page, he said.

Although these states comprise a minority in number, they reflect a supermajority in size because of their large populations, Sherman said.

“This will most certainly boost the life settlement market because it will go a long way in removing the risk of an insurance company challenging a policy on insurable-interest grounds post contestability period,” he said.

To read more, request a subscription to The Life Settlements

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Clinton- Trump III

Have you been watching the debates? Hard not to, like driving by an accident on the highway you just have to look. I try not to be political in my blog but the debates are just too juicy to pass up. One thing I have been noticing about this election, there don’t seem to be as many “signs” as in other years. I usually see signs and bumper stickers in support of the candidates. While I am seeing a lot of signs for the local candidates I’m not seeing any Clinton or Trump signs. Perhaps the reason is that many are undecided? Or is it that no one wants to be public about who they support?

Wouldn’t it be nice if tonight’s debate just focused on the issues? I have a cousin/friend who had a great idea that will never be implemented. New debate rules.

Dave Krechevsky

My fantasy for the final debate: The candidates are NOT allowed to talk about each other. Topics will be limited to real issues: the economy, health care, ISIS, the racial divide, refugees, etc. Responses must be limited to only what he/she proposes to do. If either begins to stray and talks about or attacks the other, his/her microphone is shut off and the rest of his/her time to respond is lost or given to the other. And Bob Schieffer would be moderator.

Since we know this won’t happen, I thought it might help if I reposted each candidates proposal on taxes. At least when you are watching the debate you can have some info that might help you make a choice on policy and not on personality.

 

Though tax policies haven’t received top billing in this year’s presidential election dialogue, they’re still part of the conversation. Here’s a quick review of each candidate’s tax proposals based on information released by their campaigns. Keep in mind that regardless of who wins in November, any changes to tax policy would require congressional action.

Note:  On August 8, 2016, Donald Trump announced a revised tax plan. Full details of the new plan were not immediately available on the campaign’s website. The following summary is based on the original plan announced by the Trump campaign and what we currently know about the revised plan.

Tax brackets

Plans released by the Trump campaign initially proposed reducing the current seven tax brackets to four, with the top rate dropping from 39.6% to 25%, and no tax due for individuals with incomes under $25,000 ($50,000 for married couples filing jointly) Trump has recently announced changes to his tax proposal, including a consolidation to three tax brackets: 12%, 25%, and 33%. This change moves the Trump campaign’s plan closer to the tax reform plan announced by House Republicans in June of this year. The Clinton campaign’s tax plans do not reflect changes to existing tax brackets, but do support a new 4% “fair share surcharge” on taxpayers with an adjusted gross income (AGI) exceeding $5 million.

Long-term capital gains and qualified dividends

Currently, lower tax rates generally apply to qualified dividends and to capital gains resulting from the sale of assets held longer than one year. Plans released by the Clinton campaign recommend adjusting the holding period schedule for long-term capital gains, increasing the minimum holding period from one to two years and adding medium-term holding periods that gradually reduce the top long-term rate down to 20% for assets held for more than six years. Plans initially released by the Trump campaign indicated that the top rate of 20% would continue to apply, with no change to current holding requirements.

Alternative minimum tax (AMT)

The AMT is a separate, parallel federal income tax with its own rates (26% or 28%, depending on income) and rules. It is intended to ensure that taxpayers who use certain strategies to reduce their tax liability pay a minimum amount of tax. The Trump campaign has called for elimination of the AMT. The Clinton tax plan would presumably add a new tax layer, imposing a minimum tax due of 30% on those with incomes exceeding $1 million.

Deductions, exemptions, and exclusions

Proposals released by both candidates would limit itemized deductions for higher-income filers. The Clinton team’s plan would limit the benefit of itemized deductions and certain items that are excluded from income (e.g., tax-exempt interest) to 28%, which means that the benefit of these items would be reduced for individuals in higher tax brackets; charitable deductions would be excluded from this limitation. The Trump team’s plan would accelerate the limitation of itemized deductions and the phaseout of personal exemptions for higher-income filers, though the treatment of deductions for charitable giving and mortgage interest would remain unchanged. The original Trump campaign tax plan also indicated that the ability to exclude earnings in life insurance contracts from income would be phased out for high-income individuals.

Estate tax

The two campaigns have very different views of the existing federal estate tax. The Clinton campaign proposes increasing the top estate tax rate from 40% to 45%, and decreasing the estate tax exclusion from $5.45 million to $3.5 million. The Trump campaign proposes eliminating the federal estate tax.

 

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Met Life = Brighthouse

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Brighthouse Financial Files Form 10 Registration Statement in Connection with Planned Separation from MetLife

MetLife, Inc. recently announced that Brighthouse Financial, Inc. filed a Registration Statement on Form 10 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). The filing of the Form 10 is an important step in MetLife’s plan to separate into two independent publicly traded companies. The filing provides information on the strategy and historical financial data of Brighthouse Financial and will be updated with additional information in subsequent amendments as the SEC reviews it.

The Form 10 Brighthouse filed reflects MetLife’s current plant to initiate the seperation of Brighthouse in the form of a spin-off. The ultimate form and timing of the transaction will be influenced by a number of factors.

To learn more about this announcement, you see MetLife’s press release, theirFAQs document, or contact Insurance Designers of America today.

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