American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) President and CEO Susan Neely and NAIFA-Washington President Karl Kuntz issued the following joint statement on legislation signed into law in Washington that strengthens protections for annuity consumers:
“The new law sponsored by Representative Kristine Reeves, approved by the legislature, and signed by Governor Jay Inslee strengthens protections for consumers in Washington state seeking lifetime income through annuities.
“Washington joins a growing list of states that have adopted the ‘best interest of consumer enhancements’ in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Suitability in Annuity Transactions Model Regulation. Residents in more than 2/3rdsof the states now benefit from a best interest standard of care. These new laws and regulations also align with the SEC’s Regulation Best Interest, providing robust consumer protections at the state and federal level.
“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 and in 2022 that made it easier for employers to include annuities in workplace retirement plans. Thanks to the enhanced state and federal protections, savers in Washington and 35 other states can be assured that financial professionals are acting in the consumer’s best interest when offering recommendations about annuities.
“We hope other states add to the nationwide momentum behind these sensible protections so more consumers can benefit from a best interest standard of care no matter where they live.”