Get On the Index UL Train

Indexed life sales up 6.1% in 2017

Total 2017 sales of indexed life insurance came in at $1.9 billion, an increase of 6.1% as compared to 2016, according to the Wink’s Sales & Market Report, released on March 14.

“Another record-setting year for indexed life sales is on the books!” said Sheryl J. Moore, President and CEO of both Moore Market Intelligence and Wink, Inc., based in Des Moines. “Five of the top 10 manufacturers had double-digit sales increases; this is absolutely a product line with growth potential!”

Indexed life sales in the fourth quarter of 2017 totaled $575.2 million; up 20.3% when compared with the prior quarter, and up 7.6% as compared to the same period last year.

Items of interest in the indexed life market included Pacific Life Companies retaining the No. 1 ranking in indexed life sales, with an 18.5% market share. National Life Group, Transamerica, and Minnesota Life-Securian round out the top four sellers, respectively.

Pacific Life’s Pacific Discovery Xelerator IUL was the top-selling indexed life insurance product, for all channels combined, for the quarter. The top pricing objective for sales this quarter was Cash Accumulation, capturing 79.7% of sales. The average indexed life target premium reported for the quarter was $9,073, an increase of more than 5.0% from the prior quarter.


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High Impact Appointments

Last year we were lucky enough to host a conference featuring Joe Ross from AIG and the Sequoia Program called “High Impact Appointments” All who attended walked away with some great ideas on how to get more out of each appointment. Here is one of the better ideas for you to consider:

Define Your High Impact Appointments

The typical financial professional conducts dozens, if not hundreds of meetings every year. While we like to think that each contact is a unique experience, the far more likely scenario is that dozens of meetings are generally made up of perhaps 4-6 different types of meetings done multiple times each year. Furthermore, while it is nice to believe that each of our meetings has equal impact, the reality is that only a handful, perhaps 2 or 3 of our meetings actually produce the greatest impact on future business with clients. The ability to repeat those relatively few high impact appointments has an enormous impact on our overall success.

So which appointments produce the highest impact? That is for you to decide. No two times are the same and there are differences for each of us. For this reason it is good to define and identify what are the 3 or 4 highest impact appointments in your arsenal. Once defined you need to focus on a few key elements. Break it down so you can duplicate success over and over again.


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An Eight Year Window

Saving for retirement is key for most business owners and professionals. Its need is now magnified – with all the comings and goings in Washington — with talk of reducing 401k contributions — with other threats to retirement benefits. The time is now to become more self-sufficient in planning for your retirement.

The new Tax Cut and Jobs Act gives sole proprietors and pass-through entity owners a special tax benefit, but one with a narrow window. For 8 years starting in 2018, most owners can deduct up to 20% of their business income. It’s an unprecedented gift to help fund retirement. Take your tax-free income and relay it into a tax-advantaged cash value life insurance policy. Grow your cash values tax-free and receive tax-free income in retirement.

The Fine Print

How much you have by way of savings, and how much you might contribute to a life insurance policy will vary from person to person. To participate in this approach, you need to have an established life insurance need. The amount of life insurance and the contribution will vary based on many factors, including your life insurance need. The
accumulation potential may vary based on the premium for the policy and the insured’s medical underwriting.

• To be effective, you need to hold the policy until death. A life insurance policy generally takes years to build up a substantial cash value.

• Tax-free distributions will reduce the face amount and cash value of a policy. You may need to fund higherpremiums in later years to keep the policy from lapsing.

• Generally, there are many additional charges associated with a life insurance policy, including but not limited to, a front end load, monthly administrative charge, cost of insurance charge, additional benefit rider costs and surrender charges. The amount that can be contributed will also vary from person to person. You’ll want to work with your tax advisor to determine how much is a reasonable annual contribution based on their business.

• This is only a limited window that expires after December 31, 2025. To take maximum advantage of this window, work with your financial professional to develop a design that optimizes this limited opportunity.

• $315,000 for married couples ($157,500 for single tax filers) is the key number. For many, your K-1 income will be below these amounts. Beyond these amounts there are a complex series of calculations. For most white-collar professionals, their ability to deduct 20% phases out over the next $100,000 of income over these key numbers.

• For other business owners, additional tests apply over these thresholds that are tied to the business’ wage income and a portion of the depreciable assets. Your tax advisor might be able to suggest other tax planning that can help you plan your income and business deductions to help bring your income in line with the $315,000/$157,500 thresholds. Your tax professional can tell you your approximate tax savings to help steer some of the tax savings towards your retirement savings.

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Throw Back Thursday- Mr. Fisher has a Problem

We have all seen it. The big advertisement from Fisher Investments “I Hate Annuities and You Should Too!” – Ken Fisher is making a splash with this but as is typical with this kind of promo his “Special Report” is one-sided, very poorly researched and limited in scope. In addition, his “Annuity Conversion Program” is misleading in that his reps tell annuity clients that Fisher Investments will “pay for your annuity surrender charges” if you surrender your annuity and move it to Fisher Investments. I ran into this recently with several  clients of mine and looked into it. As I suspected it was not what it seemed.

Here is the claim from Fisher Investments:

“If you determine your annuity may not be the best option for your financial goals…we may compensate you for some or all of the annuity surrender fees incurred when liquidating your annuity.*”

Sounds pretty straight forward yes? But lets look at the fine print…or the * above:

* Annuity Surrender Fee Terms and Conditions

1. Limited Time Offer- The offer is available for a limited time only. Fisher Investments reserves the right to cancel, suspend or modify the offer at any time and for any reason without notice.

2. Eligibility- The offer is valid only to qualified investors who become Private Client Group clients of Fisher Investments and who surrender an annuity and transfer the proceeds to be managed by Fisher Investments. Nothing in the offer infers any right on any person to become a client of Fisher Investments. Fisher Investments reserves the right to refuse or terminate any person or client for any reason. Any request to participate in the offer is subject to acceptance by Fisher Investments.

3. Conditions-

a. The maximum surrender cost that Fisher may agree to pay will depend on the actual surrender cost of the annuity (excluding capital gains and other taxes) and the value of the portfolio transferred for management by Fisher Investments. Any portfolio already managed by Fisher Investments will be excluded for the purpose of determining the maximum surrender cost to be paid.

b. Any surrender cost that Fisher Investments may agree to pay will be payable in equal quarterly installments over several years. Installments are subject to adjustment based on withdrawal of assets from Fisher Investments management. All payments obligations will cease if the client relationship with Fisher Investments is terminated before the end of the payment period and no further installments will be paid..

4. Risks- There is no guarantee that any annuity proceeds managed by Fisher Investments will achieve any specified level of performance, or that performance will be any higher than what could be achieved within an annuity. Investing in securities involves the risk of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future returns.

I have had several clients who have asked me about this program. I took a hard look at what the offer is. Fisher Investment will pay the surrender charges over time. But it is paid with a “reduction in fees” on a quarterly basis. In other words as they manage your portfolio they charge you fees. They will charge you less fees if you surrender the annuity and move it to them. Their fees for management are high to begin with so a reduction in fees merely brings them back to the rest of the Money Management world.

Also- if you look at the fine print, you must stay with Fisher to receive the reduction in fees. If you leave their obligation to pay for your surrender charges is lost. So let me get this straight…if you leave Fisher you lose your right to getting back the surrender charges…funny, to me that sounds like a surrender penalty for leaving Fisher Investments. Ironic isn’t it?

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Ibbotson Gives FIA’s a Thumbs UP

Ibbotson: Fixed Indexed Annuities Beat Bonds For Retirees

MARCH  2018 

Fixed indexed annuities can do a better job of de-risking a portfolio for older investors than bonds, according to Roger Ibbotson, chairman and chief investment officer for Zebra Capital Management, an independent investment management firm based in Milford, Conn.

According to his latest research, Ibbotson said, uncapped fixed indexed annuities help control equity market risk, mitigate longevity risk and have the potential to outperform bonds in the near future.

“What financial advisors should acknowledge is the immense impact that shifting market conditions, longer life expectancies and uncertainties surrounding the future of Social Security have made on our U.S. economy,” said Ibbotson. “In recent years, we recognized the potential of these conditions to result in a perfect storm where investors may be left with insufficient funds to carry them through retirement.”

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A Guaranteed Way to Grow Your Practice

A Turn-Key Program For All of our Associates

Imagine this scene…you are standing in a room filled with qualified prospects. Every one of them is there to hear you talk about a topic vitally important to their financial future. You are prepared, you know your subject, but more importantly you know the secret of how to connect with each person in the room and why each person will want to have a face-to-face meeting with you. The perfect world you say? At ISN Network this scene is taking place every week at different cities across the country.

ISN Network-contracted associates have been conducting proprietary seminars in cities across the country for the last several years. These seminar producers have many characteristics in common. First, they are committed to providing financial solutions to their clients and seminar attendees in an easy to understand format. They are NOT product pushers; instead they are problem solvers with a vast array of financial products that can help their clients. They are prepared, well-trained and focused. And most importantly they have learned the secret of success in seminar selling from the network of experts who work with ISN Network.

With the introduction of our new program “White Glove Seminars” ISN is taking our Seminar Systems to a new level. With the addition of White Glove we can now coordinate seminars in any library, community center or restaurant across the United States. The White Glove system utilizes an innovative, fully digital approach to seminars and removes all the risk to you. Yes. That is correct. This is the only turn-key, risk-free, hands-free, guaranteed way to grow your practice.

The seminar systems available from ISN Network and White Glove are varied and professional. We provide true mentorship throughout the process and can help you get started successfully in an arena with unlimited potential. Our programs incorporate all the best aspects of professional seminar planning and can be designed for your location and area of expertise. Our systems all include the best training, guarantees to fill the room; and what to say once the room is filled; how to turn prospects into face-to-face meetings; and how to create financial solutions from your clients goals and objectives. And most important- you do not pay any upfront costs – you only pay for the qualified prospects that show up to your meeting- that is our guarantee to you!

1-800-338-1892 x 215

At ISN Network the perfect world is just a phone call away. Take the first step in preparing upcoming marketing programs. Call Jeff Berson, President at ISN Network and find out how you can be a part of the “ISN Network Seminar Systems” program today!

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DOL Fiduciary Rule Vacated- For Now

DOL Fiduciary Rule Vacated – For Now
The U.S. Department of Labor significantly altered the retirement account landscape through the Fiduciary Rule, which was partially implemented in June of last year. These regulations generally made more people fiduciaries, including insurance agents, and required them to meet a best interest standard of care and other requirements when making recommendations about retirement accounts.

While we at ISN Network support a best interest standard, we have not supported the DOL Fiduciary Rule because it reduces access to annuities, increases the cost of retirement products and services for consumers, and increases litigation. ISN has worked closely with our trade associations to challenge the Fiduciary Rule as violating federal law and the U.S. Constitution.

Last week, a federal court agreed that the Fiduciary Rule is unlawful, and it vacated the regulation in its entirety. The decision will likely become effective nationwide in early May, but there is the possibility of further litigation by the DOL that could delay that effective date or alter the decision.

While the court’s action will likely wipe clean the best interest slate at the federal level (for now), the DOL may propose alternative rules, and new best interest regulations are anticipated from the SEC, the NAIC and/or individual states. Accordingly, in the coming weeks we will monitor the possibility of other changes. You should continue doing business as usual with ISN. We will also continue to work with our trade associations and peer companies to advocate for a uniform, workable standard at both the state and federal level.

Updates will be provided as more information becomes available.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 1-800-338-1892 x 215

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