American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) President and CEO Susan Neely and NAIFA-Oklahoma President Whitney Jessee issued the following joint statement on the best interest annuity rule adopted recently by the Oklahoma Insurance Department:
“The new rule adopted by the Oklahoma Insurance Department led by Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready provides stronger protections to retirement savers preparing for their financial future. It enhances the standards financial professionals must follow and protects consumers’ access to, and information about, annuities, the only financial product in the marketplace that can provide guaranteed income for life. Thanks to this consumer protection rule, nearly 4 million Oklahoma residents will be in a strong position to achieve financial security and prosperity throughout retirement.
“Oklahoma is the 40th state to implement measures that follow 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 align with the SEC’s Regulation Best Interest providing robust consumer protection at the state and federal levels.
“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. In a recent survey, retirement savers overwhelmingly said they want the option to work with any type of financial professional who is offering products and services that meet their needs.
“The U.S. Congress reaffirmed the importance of lifetime income when it passed legislation in 2019 and 2022 that made it easier for employers to include annuities in workplace retirement plans. With the enhanced state and federal consumer protections, savers in Oklahoma and 39 other states can be assured that financial professionals are acting in consumers’ best interest when offering recommendations about annuities.
“We hope that all states adopt these sensible protections so that consumers, regardless of what state they call home, can benefit from a best interest standard of care.”