Securian Financial Introduces Protection-Focused IUL with No-Lapse Guarantee

Securian Financial has launched Value Protection Indexed Universal Life (IUL), a low-cost, protection-focused indexed universal life insurance policy with a built-in no-lapse guarantee.

A leading accumulation-focused IUL carrier since it entered the market in 2006, Securian Financial is expanding its IUL portfolio and planting a flag in the protection space with the introduction of Value Protection, issued by Minnesota Life Insurance Company. The product offers affordable, permanent coverage at a competitive price—paying a death benefit even if the policy does not have enough cash value to cover monthly policy charges. The no-lapse guarantee provides coverage for the earlier of 40 years or a specific age based on underwriting class at issue.

“Value Protection IUL offers clients simple, affordable protection that could last a lifetime—a must-have for all financial professionals’ product portfolios,” said Ben Roth, Securian Financial’s national sales vice president for retail product distribution. “We are excited to introduce this protection-focused IUL to distributors who know us well for our popular accumulation-focused products.”

Optional living benefits available for an additional fee with Value Protection IUL include an accelerated death benefit for chronic illness agreement. The agreement gives clients access to their death benefit if they are unable to perform two of six activities of daily living (ADLs) and meet other eligibility requirements.

Additional key features of Value Protection IUL include the following:

  • Multiple indexed account options, including both capped and uncapped options, and a fixed account that credits a minimum of 2% growth annually.

  • Policy reminder emails to help financial professionals service client contracts.

  • Face amounts from $100,000 (minimum) to $5 million (maximum).

  • Securian Financial’s strength and ratings.

 Value Protection IUL is available to all Securian Financial-approved distribution channels.

Cigna Employees Kick Off $25 Million Healthier Kids for Our Future Initiative by Fighting Childhood Hunger Globally

Global health service company Cigna Corporation has kicked off Healthier Kids for Our Future, a $25 million five-year global initiative to improve the health and well-being of children. Cigna's 74,000 global employees will work together to put children on a healthier path, starting with reducing childhood hunger and improving nutrition in local communities. Today, Cigna employees are working side-by-side to pack food for elementary school students who might otherwise go hungry on the weekends, in partnership with the non-profit organization, Blessings in a Backpack.

Healthier Kids for Our Future is part of Cigna’s $200 million investment to support local communities and improve societal health announced at the close of the company’s transaction with Express Scripts in December, 2018.

 “Cigna’s goal is to set a course for children to live healthy lives. Children who go hungry are more likely to be in poor physical health, struggle with mental well-being and suffer from preventable chronic conditions,” said David Cordani, president and chief executive officer of Cigna. “At Cigna, we are focused on improving peace of mind for the people we serve, and to do this, we need to serve the communities where they live, work and play. Our goal is to address food insecurity for children in order to help build healthier communities in the future.”

According to Blessings in a Backpack, there are more than 13 million United States children at risk of hunger. Research has shown that food insecurity and hunger can significantly affect a child’s short-term and long-term physical and mental health and may lead to poorer health outcomes later in life. Blessings in a Backpack, which has partnered with Cigna locally since 2013 is currently feeding more than 87,000 children in more than 1,000 schools across the United States.

“We are thrilled to expand our work together and help feed the many children who go hungry when they are not in school. Everything we do to support the health and well-being of children makes a difference and gives these students a path to a brighter future,” said Brooke Wiseman, chief executive officer of Blessings in Backpack.

The packing events are taking place, often simultaneously, in several cities where Cigna has a significant presence and the backpacks will be distributed in those local communities.

94% of Millennials Plan on Making Financial Resolutions in 2019

Nearly all American millennials (94%) plan on making financial resolutions in 2019, according to new data from Principal Financial Group®. As the year winds down, more Americans are reflecting on where they busted their budgets in 2018, and importantly, what they’re committed to correcting in 2019.

 Food broke the bank for Americans in 2018, taking the top two spots on the list of budget-busters. Dining out (29%) and food/groceries (27%) led the way, while clothing/apparel (21%), entertainment (17%) and vehicle expenses (17%) also made discernible dents.

 At the same time, Americans cite their biggest financial blunder as not saving enough (22%) in 2018, followed by not budgeting properly (11%). Other top blunders include the following:

  •  Taking on more debt (10%).

  • Spending outside their means (9%).

  • Accumulating credit card debt (9%).

 “There’s no one-size-fits all magic bullet for spending versus saving. However, the more we can think about spending and saving instead of spending or saving, the better off people will be,” said Jerry Patterson, senior vice president of retirement and income solutions at Principal®. “Taking a hard look at where we missed the mark and committing to making the right changes is a key step for 2019 well-being.”

 In spite of these blunders, optimism comes from a fresh start in financial New Year’s resolutions. The top resolutions in 2019 overall include:

  •  To save more each month (46%).

  • Reduce spending each month (38%).

  • Pay off credit card debt (29%).

  • Build an emergency fund (24%).

  • Save more for retirement (21%).

“The new year is a chance for new opportunities and a clean slate. The challenge will be taking those good intentions and making them last into February and beyond,” added Mr. Patterson.

More than one half of those surveyed (56%) are optimistic about the economy in 2019. The new year, however, isn’t without worry. The top concern is health care instability (40%), with about one half (49%) of Baby Boomers having the highest level of uneasiness. Other burdens include fluctuating gas (37%) and food prices (36%), political uncertainty (28%) and wages (23%).

“While Americans are feeling optimistic, they remain cautious about things that seem out of their control,” said Mr. Patterson. “The fact is we’ll never be able to control all the variables in our lives, but we can do smart, simple things to set ourselves up for success and help us better weather any possible storms.”

Lincoln Financial Group Launches Fixed Indexed Annuity to Help Boost Retirement Savings through Immediate 6% Bonus

To help quell client concerns over market volatility and its impact on retirement portfolios, Lincoln Financial Group has introduced Lincoln OptiBlend® Plus fixed indexed annuity. This new solution is designed to help clients jump start their retirement savings with an immediate account bonus of 6%, added to their account value at the time the annuity is purchased. An optional lifetime income rider, Lincoln Lifetime IncomeSM Edge, is also available with Lincoln OptiBlend® Plus and can be elected at issue or added on a contract anniversary for an additional cost.

“Lincoln OptiBlend® Plus builds on the success we’ve seen with our top-selling Lincoln OptiBlend 10 fixed indexed annuity, and provides customers with the opportunity to achieve higher income during retirement,” said Tad Fifer, head of Fixed Annuity Sales and RIA Sales & Strategy at Lincoln Financial Distributors. “We are committed to our fixed business – an area where Lincoln has seen significant growth -- and offering solutions that provide clients with even greater value through protected lifetime income.”

A recent study from Lincoln Financial Group shows that market volatility is a top concern for pre-retirees. In fact, 70% claim they can only afford to lose 10% or less of their savings before having to adjust their retirement plan or savings goals. And among those closest to retirement (less than 3 years away), 87% are concerned with protecting the wealth they have accumulated. LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute research shows fixed indexed annuities sales hit record levels in the second quarter of 2018. They offer protection for principal and investment growth potential, which is attractive to consumers in volatile market conditions. Expansion in the fixed indexed annuity market has contributed to Lincoln’s fixed annuity sales more than doubling, to nearly $900 million in the third quarter.

Lincoln OptiBlend® Plus is a flexible premium deferred annuity that offers the same fixed and indexed accounts as Lincoln OptiBlend 10, plus the added benefits of a premium bonus. The solution’s three index-linked interest crediting strategies offer the potential for earnings tied to the performance of an outside index, in addition to a fixed account option for accumulation. You cannot directly invest in any index. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

For more information about Lincoln OptiBlend® Plus, please visit: www.LFG.com/income.

Study Says Millennials Most “At Risk” Generation When It Comes to Life Insurance

The Millennial generation is now the least prepared for unexpected life events due to a lack of adequate life insurance coverage, according to the latest edition of New York Life’s Life Insurance Gap survey. The survey asks Americans to compare how much life insurance they need, based on living expenses and plans for their loved ones, with the amount of life insurance protection they have in place.

The results that find that the Millennials are most exposed contrasts with the 2013 edition of the study, which found Gen X under the most pressure.

Millennials with life insurance have a self-reported life insurance gap of $352,000 in 2018, with enough life insurance protection in place ($100,000) to cover only 22% of their self-reported coverage needs ($452,000). The Millennial generation’s gap is sharply higher – 60% greater, in fact – than the gap for the general population, which is $210,000, enough to cover 49% of the average estimated need.

In addition, the survey findings illustrate that only 10% of Millennials have enough life insurance to cover 100% of their needs, which can include mortgages, funding retirements, or financing a child’s college education. Millennials feel more financially secure, however, than the overall population, with 81% saying they feel financially secure versus 76% of all respondents.

“While ten percent of Millennials already enjoy the peace of mind that comes from taking a protection-first financial planning approach, too many members of this generation are starting a family or buying a home without access to replacement income if the worst were to happen,” said Brian Madgett, vice president, New York Life. “Life for young families is unquestionably busy and complicated, but there is security and peace of mind in looking beyond today, and knowing their loved ones are protected against future financial shocks.”

New York Life’s Life Insurance Gap survey examines the financial planning attitudes and behaviors of 1,738 Americans ages 25-70 who are married, have financial dependents, or both, including 1,176 adults who have life insurance. The survey focuses on how much life insurance coverage Americans currently have in place and what they want their life insurance policies to cover in the event of the death of the breadwinner, resulting in a self-reported gap. Both the 2013 and 2018 gap surveys were commissioned by New York Life.

Additional key findings from the Life Insurance Gap survey include the following:

  • Despite feeling financially secure, 48% of Millennials are stressed about their current level of savings; 47% are stressed about planning for their future financial needs; and 40% are stressed about their current level of income and saving for their children’s education.

  • 44% of Millennials are not financially prepared to deal with the death of a breadwinner and 42%are not financially prepared for the possibility of losing their job.

 “Millennials are missing an opportunity to take a ‘protection first’ approach to financial goals such as saving for retirement or owning a home,” added Mr. Madgett. “Without life insurance, even the best laid plans can be ruined by the death of a breadwinner. The good news is that more than two thirds of Millennials, who have the time and opportunity to better prepare themselves, say that having enough life insurance to protect their family is an important goal for them.”

Research Reveals Employees Worry More about Money for Retirement than Monthly Expenses

Regardless of income level, 70% of employees indicated that saving money for retirement is their top financial concern, according to research from The Standard.

Other notable concerns include having enough money to pay for the following:

 

·       Monthly expenses (57%).

·       Medical expenses (52%).

·       Support if a disability is incurred (52%).

·       Mortgage/rent (49%).

 

“We found that saving for retirement outweighs other important priorities such as ensuring employees have enough money for a roof over their heads or medical expenses,” said Chris Dugan, director of retirement plan communications for The Standard. “Given its importance to employees, it’s crucial for advisors and employers to do what they can to help support their retirement readiness efforts.”

While saving money for retirement is a top financial concern, only 33% of employees are confident about their level of retirement readiness. As the new year quickly approaches, employers can make small but effective changes to their retirement plans to boost employees’ preparedness. Mr. Dugan has identified two key retirement considerations for advisors and employers planning their retirement plan approach for 2019.

First, employers can boost preparedness with automatic features.  To help address retirement fears, plan features like automatic enrollment and automatic deferral rate increases can help improve retirement outcomes. The support for these features is high among employees, with 68% supporting automatic options according to research from The Standard. Generational groups also support these options, including:

 

·       70% of millennials.

·       66% of Gen Xers.

·       64% of baby boomers.

 

“Employers should also consider a managed account service such as the Qualified Default Investment Alternative, which offers annual automatic deferral rate increases that are customized to the needs of an individual,” Mr. Dugan said. “For most, this is just a 1 or 2 percent increase. But even a small additional increase each year can help make a specific retirement goal a reality.”

Second, employees want retirement planning advice.  It’s easy to get overwhelmed when planning for retirement, which is why employees want guidance. The same research finds that about one half of employees say they aren’t comfortable selecting their own retirement plan options. Similarly, 55% of employees are interested in having a professional help them choose investments and manage their savings.

“Employees can benefit from using a managed service through their retirement plan, which is often very affordable, to help with investment decisions,” Mr. Dugan said. “Some managed services have a team of dedicated and licensed advisor representatives available that can serve as a resource for those who prefer to talk through their options. These services may lead to higher participation, engagement and overall levels of retirement readiness.”

Principal Launches New Financial Wellness Program

Nearly one half of Americans say their financial situation stresses them out, and they don’t know where to get help or where to start. In response to this research and feedback from participants, Principal Financial Group® is expanding its financial wellness resources with iGrad’s Enrich™ financial wellness platform.

 The new Principal® Milestones helps participants access comprehensive financial education resources all in one place. The platform addresses student loans, will and legal document preparation powered by ARAG®, Health Savings Accounts, budgeting, and more. There’s something for everyone, no matter their life stage or financial priorities, and everything is designed to help people live their best lives and work toward a better financial future.

 Seven in 10 Americans postpone making financial decisions, with less than one third saying they feel comfortable with the amount of knowledge they have about managing finances, according to findings released in April from a research project by Principal and behavioral economist Dan Goldstein. In fact, the behavioral research revealed that confidence is a bigger driver of financial decision-making than income, and people who spend even a little bit of time learning about financial planning are 75% more likely to be confident in their financial future.

 Enrich goes beyond investment and benefits planning to provide the foundational information and insights needed to help consumers improve financial literacy and sustain it over time. An in-depth online assessment helps evaluate an individual's strengths and challenges and then delivers information more personalized to help employees minimize financial stress and reach their goals, such as spending less than they earn, saving for emergencies, and planning for the future.

 “The decision to further expand our financial wellness offering with Enrich was easy when the research so clearly ties confidence to postponing financial decisions,” said Joleen Workman, vice president of customer care at Principal. “We selected the Enrich financial wellness platform in large part because of its expansive set of content and tools, and the customization available, which makes each person’s experience more personalized and relevant.”

 Enrich supports employees at all life stages, from providing strategies to help pay off student loans, planning for a child's college education, budgeting and health savings accounts. The platform will integrate seamlessly with Principal’s existing resources.

 “The continued commitment by Principal to financial wellness education is a great benefit to its participants, advisors, and plan sponsors,” said iGrad president and CEO Rob LaBreche. “As their research reveals, improving financial knowledge increases confidence and leads to more proactive and informed financial decisions.”

 Ms. Workman added, “We want to help our client’s participants with their broader financial health, but understand there’s a sensitivity around sharing data. That’s why we have decided not to share participant-level or plan data with Enrich. We will allow the participant to choose what, if any, information to share as they access the resources.”

 Principal has been a leader in making available holistic financial services and support for many years, including Principal Retire Secure (1-on-1 workplace education meetings from a retirement professional), a broad range of webinars with live chat, resources for advisors and plan sponsors, and the Retirement Wellness Planner, which allows users to link any external account information and adjust for their household situation, Ms. Workman said. Principal® Milestones is the latest evolution of this commitment — and it comes at no additional cost to participants or plans.

 “When we asked what participants wanted to know more about, they told us. And that’s why we started with will and legal document preparation services through ARAG,” continued Ms. Workman. “It’s quite a shock when you hear that nearly 75% of Americans don’t have a will, but how could they with competing financial priorities?”

 “We’re committed, we listen, and we believe these resources will help not only retirement plan participants, but also support the advisors and plan sponsors who are looking for tools and resources to help support these kinds of conversations,” she said.

Symetra Expands Group Accident Coverage for Employers

Symetra Life Insurance Company, a national provider of employee benefits, annuities, and life insurance, has expanded its group accident coverage to offer employers two plan options designed to help relieve some of the financial pressure that employees and their families may face after an accidental injury.

 “Even when employers have a major medical plan, it can be tough for employees to meet their deductible, copay or coinsurance requirements. Because every employer group is different, a one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t always work,” said Todd Dzen, director of product management for Group Life & Disability. “Symetra’s two accident policies—per occurrence and our new scheduled benefit—are designed to help employers better meet their employees’ specific needs.”

 Groups that typically choose scheduled benefit accident view catastrophic injury protection as a high priority and are likely to pair their accident product with additional supplemental health coverages, while groups that tend to opt for per occurrence accident coverage are looking for added financial protection for accidents that tend to be more common and have a high-deductible major medical plan in place.

 Symetra scheduled benefit accident coverage pays a fixed-benefit amount after an accidental injury, based on the kind of injury or medical treatment incurred. Three plan options are available—Base, Classic and Premier. Each plan offers the same schedule of coverage, but at increasing benefit levels.

 Symetra per occurrence accident coverage can help employees by paying for 100% of eligible services and supplies related to an accidental injury, up to the benefit limits.

 Both policies offer customizable coverage options, and benefits are paid regardless of any other health insurance employees may have.

 Symetra scheduled benefit and per occurrence accident coverage are part of the Select Benefits suite of fixed-payment and supplemental insurance products.

Securian Financial Expands Retirement Plan Investment Solutions With Unitized Model Portfolios

To help the financial advisors with whom it works stand out from competitors in today’s commoditized retirement plan marketplace, Securian Financial is adding unitized model portfolios to its suite of Section 401(k) investment solutions.

Unitized model portfolios provide advisors with the flexibility to customize investment solutions based on a broad range of investment objectives, while also simplifying investment decisions for participants. Securian Financial’s program, offered in conjunction with Mid Atlantic Trust Company, integrates custom investment models with Securian’s recordkeeping services, resulting in an all-inclusive platform featuring valued services for advisors’ clients. There is no asset minimum, making this typically large-client service available to plans of all sizes.

“Unitized model portfolios are for professionals interested in taking target-date funds to the next level by building customized risk-based solutions for participant usage,” said Kent Peterson, a retirement solutions vice president with Securian Financial. “They provide a value proposition and competitive differentiator to retirement plan specialist advisors who focus on investments as part of their practice. Wealth management firms that, in addition to working with individual investors, offer retirement plan consulting to small businesses find unitized model portfolios particularly appealing and highly efficient.”

Securian Financial has been helping people save for retirement since 1930. Its platform features long-tenured retirement specialists, fiduciary-friendly fee levelization practices, and extensive administrative outsourcing, most of which is offered at no additional cost. Securian Financial provides services to employer-sponsored retirement plans through group annuity products issued by Minnesota Life Insurance Company.

Study Reveals More than 40% of Americans Have No Life Insurance

Foresters Financial™ believes life insurance is an essential component of people’s financial fitness. Life insurance protects families and also can be a useful savings and investment vehicle. But a new study shows that while 84% of Americans say that most people need life insurance, only 68% say they personally need it and only 59% own some form of it.

This is why September’s Life Insurance Awareness Month (LIAM) is such an important event. This national educational campaign, which is coordinated by the nonprofit organization Life Happens, is designed to get consumers to take stock of their life insurance needs and protect their loved ones with proper insurance planning.

This year, the campaign’s theme is “A Journey to Financial Fitness,” and Danica Patrick, professional athlete and entrepreneur, is the spokesperson for Life Insurance Awareness Month.

“I’m on a personal journey, as I transition from the world of racing to a time when I can turn my hobbies and passions into what I do full time!” said Ms. Patrick. “I’ve been a big advocate of life insurance since I began in racing, and it continues to be important as I grow my businesses, so I’m thrilled to carry the message to as many Americans as possible.”

“Foresters is proud to support the annual LIAM campaign so that everyone can learn more about how life insurance can help protect them and their family,” said Knut Olson, president, North American Life Insurance and Annuity at Foresters Financial. “This campaign also fits perfectly with Foresters goal of raising financial literacy for our clients and members.”

“The reason why many people don’t like to think about life insurance is because they see it as only a death benefit and most people prefer not to think about their own mortality.” said Bill Stevens, senior vice president of retail sales for Foresters Financial Services, Inc. “The good news is that life insurance can be so much more than just death benefit! It can also include many living benefits. Life insurance awareness month highlights this and gives people a great opportunity to contact one of our advisors to discuss and implement the right protection to fit what they want out of life.”