American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) President and CEO Susan Neely and George B. Pickett, J.D. CLU, AEP, LACP, of the NAIFA Government Relations Committee, issued the following joint statement on the best interest annuity rule adopted recently by the Mississippi Insurance Department:
“Retirement savers seeking lifetime income from annuities should work with financial professionals who act in consumers’ best interest. The rule adopted by the Mississippi Insurance Department makes certain that they will.
“Mississippi is the 18th state to adopt enhanced protections for annuity consumers. These new laws and regulations align with the ‘best interest of consumer enhancements’ in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Suitability in Annuity Transactions Model Regulation. They also harmonize with the SEC’s Regulation Best Interest.
“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. According to a new study, a fiduciary-only approach would limit choices for consumers, reduce savings of nearly 3 million people by $140 billion and widen the racial wealth gap by 20%.
“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 retain access to annuities.
“We urge more states to follow Mississippi’s example and implement this sensible consumer protection. Then, more consumers working to protect their family’s financial future would benefit from a best interest standard of care, no matter where they live.”