American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) President and CEO Susan Neely and National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA)-Alaska Vice President of Advocacy, Lanet Spence, issued the following joint statement on the best interest annuity rule adopted recently by the Alaska Division of Insurance:
“Consumers in Alaska seeking lifetime income through annuities will enjoy stronger protections thanks to the actions of the Division of Insurance and Division Director Lori Wing-Heier.
“Alaska is the 29th state to adopt enhanced protections for annuity consumers. The division’s action adds further momentum to the nationwide push for implementation of the ‘best interest of consumer enhancements’ in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Suitability in Annuity Transactions Model Regulation. These new laws and regulations also harmonize with the SEC’s Regulation Best Interest. With these enhanced state and federal consumer protections, savers can be assured that financial professionals must act in the consumer’s best interest when offering recommendations about annuities.
“Unlike a fiduciary-only approach, these measures ensure that all savers, particularly financially vulnerable middle-income Americans, can access information about different choices for long-term security in retirement. A recent survey finds that middle-income retirement savers would be very concerned about a regulation keeping them from accessing the professional financial guidance they want and need.
“The U.S. Congress reaffirmed the importance of lifetime income when it passed legislation in 2019 that made it easier for employers to include annuities in workplace retirement plans. These protections safeguard consumers while also ensuring that middle- and working-class families will retain access to easy-to-understand financial information.
“We hope more states adopt these sensible protections so consumers working to secure their family’s financial future can benefit from a best interest standard of care, no matter where they live.”