American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) President and CEO Susan Neely and National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) North Carolina Government Relations Committee Chair Fred Joyner issued the following joint statement on the best interest annuity rule adopted recently by the North Carolina Department of Insurance:
“The new rule adopted by the North Carolina Department of Insurance and under the leadership of Commissioner Mike Causey gives people in the Tar Heel State confidence that the financial professionals they are working with are acting in consumers’ best interest.
“The department’s action adds to the nationwide, bipartisan momentum behind enhanced protections for people seeking lifetime income in retirement through annuities. North Carolina is the 26th state to adopt a measure that aligns 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 throughout retirement. A new 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 retain access to annuities.
“We look forward to seeing additional states add to this momentum for enhanced protections so that more consumers can benefit from a best interest standard of care.”