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For 30 years, LIMRA MarketFacts has been the premier publication for financial services executives worldwide. Our mission is to bring the latest, most pertinent industry information to our readership — whether it is derived from industry research, company best practices, or insightful thought leadership. LIMRA MarketFacts offers unmatched content by inviting authorship from representatives of companies in LIMRA’s vast member roster, as well as from LIMRA’s internal subject matter experts and global thought leaders impacting the financial services arena.

Why is LIMRA MarketFacts different from other industry trade publications? Because we concentrate on developing in-depth, insightful articles devoted to the critical issues of the day impacting financial services industry decision-makers. By blending exclusive perspectives from LIMRA’s renowned research team and marketing experts with the industry’s top thought leadership, LIMRA MarketFacts provides the latest information on how companies can maximize their marketing and distribution effectiveness in an ever-evolving environment.

In these turbulent times, it is imperative that you have access to the best thinking on the forces driving change in the financial services industry. LIMRA MarketFacts is the vehicle that industry executives turn to most for LIMRA’s longstanding brand in research excellence.

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2014 Marketfacts - Number 1

LIMRA MarketFacts

Number 1, 2014

by Alison Salka, Ph.D., LIMRA

This article suggests that retirement security requires both knowledge and action to achieve: learning what needs to be done and having the will to follow through and take the necessary steps based on that knowledge. While both are challenging under even the best circumstances, they are necessary components of a secure retirement. The author discusses the role and importance of financial education in facilitating retirement security, consumers’ levels of financial literacy, and how to motivate consumers to take the next step in planning for retirement.

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by Stephen Devaney, Fidelity Investments; Steven Feinschreiber, Fidelity Investments

Since 2005 Fidelity has been examining Americans’ retirement savings behavior. Their current approach, the Retirement Savings Assessment (RSA), uses a survey to create a bottom-up assessment of retirement preparedness. In broad terms, the results confirm what several top-down studies have found: America is facing a looming retirement crisis, not just because accumulators are not saving enough, but also because rising costs, market volatility, and even the boon of greater longevity all present challenges to the goal of achieving lifelong income in retirement. In addition, the RSA allows for deeper analysis on a variety of topics, including the potential impact on retirement preparedness of changes in behaviors or expectations. This article presents some of the key findings.

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by Lauren J. Finnie, LIMRA

The shortage of retirement funding is a global epidemic. Research consistently shows that individuals around the world feel financially unprepared for this stage in their lives. To gain insight into this issue, LIMRA recently surveyed pre-retirees and retirees in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico to understand the actions they take to prepare for retirement and their feelings about retirement readiness and adequacy. This article shares the key findings, including how, overall, Latin Americans are concerned about the rising cost of living and lack confidence in how long their current funding and savings will last.

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by Matthew Drinkwater, Ph.D., FSRI, FLMI, AFSI, PCS, LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute

Every year a growing number of people retire from their jobs and must decide what to do with the money that has accrued in a 401(k) plan or other retirement savings plan. Should they roll it over to an IRA, keep it in the plan, or begin making withdrawals from it? For retiring plan participants who choose to roll over their balances, such decisions may represent the largest financial transaction of their lives aside from buying a home. While the consequences of their decisions have great personal significance, as one of the biggest sources of money in motion, rollovers also are of major significance to the retirement industry. This article discusses factors that contribute to this importance, challenges the industry faces, LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute research findings, as well as a possible solution to provide a more meaningful asset retention benchmark for the industry.

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by Mary M. Art, LIMRA

This article shares findings from focus groups LIMRA recently conducted with members of Gen X and Y who seriously shopped for or purchased life insurance. All participants had identified a need that led them to at least start the life insurance research process. Some went on to buy, while others had not yet done so, and some were disappointed by the process. However, nearly all were eager to talk about and illustrate their ideal experience. Interestingly, we found that even members of these younger consumer groups prefer different types of approaches: omnichannel, face to face, online, and phone.

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by Matthew Drinkwater, Ph.D., FSRI, FLMI, AFSI, PCS, LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute; Jafor Iqbal, LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute; Joseph E. Montminy, ASA, MAAA, LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute

This article investigates owners’ withdrawal behavior once a VA GLWB rider has been issued. It addresses key issues regarding the utilization of these benefits, including the age at which owners start taking withdrawals; how age, the source of money used to purchase the VA, and other factors influence withdrawal behavior; whether VA owners take systematic or nonsystematic withdrawals when using their GLWBs; and whether owners are taking their maximum income benefits or exceeding these limits. Understanding these issues will allow anyone participating in or following this market to better assess the underlying dynamics of withdrawal behavior, which will assist them in measuring and projecting the long-term risks associated with withdrawals.

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by Donna B. Chaffin, M.B.A., FLMI, LIMRA; Emily Tracey, LIMRA

Having a better understanding of the practices of today’s independent financial professional (IFP) will help all the entities involved — manufacturers, intermediaries, and the practitioners themselves — work more efficiently together. Manufacturers and intermediaries that understand the practices and preferences of their IFPs can build an appealing value proposition to attract and retain the business of top independents. However, organizations that work with IFPs need to be sensitive to the fact that they are not all alike. This article outlines some key differences in the preferences of investment-focused IFPs, insurance-focused IFPs, and balance-focused IFPs.

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by Norah Denley, LIMRA

To effectively leverage social media, companies must understand not only how to use it at a corporate level, but also how to employ it as a valuable tool for their sales force. This article presents key findings from LIMRA’s 2013 social media company practices study, which looked at how companies are using social media to engage with the public, as well as to support their financial professionals. It addresses company policies and monitoring, the specific support components they offer, and how companies can gain buy-in from their sales teams.

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by Angela Forsell, Univita Health; Stephen K. Holland, M.D., Univita Health; Eileen J. Tell, Univita Health

Successfully managing LTCI is a challenge even under the best circumstances, but closed blocks pose additional challenges. For example, they are often comprised of older policy forms with less specific policy language that is challenging to administer in the face of the long-term care delivery system and provider communities that have changed significantly over recent decades. Some of these blocks grew through acquisition of other companies’ LTCI business or the introduction of new product forms to replace those found to be performing poorly. Consequently, a closed block may be made up of a complex mixture of policy generations with wide variations in contract language. This article explores key claims practice areas and illustrates the importance of managing claims specifically to the unique challenges of a closed block.

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by Marianne A. Purushotham, FSA, LIMRA

Given the increased focus on better understanding the behavior of existing policyholders as well as potential buyers, the Society of Actuaries recently commissioned LIMRA and PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct a study of current practices with respect to the analysis and modeling of policyholder and customer behavior for life insurance and annuity products. This article highlights findings as they apply to pricing, valuation, and risk management, as well as to marketing, distribution, and underwriting. It also presents the current approaches that the surveyed life insurance and annuity writers are taking in this area.

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by Elaine A. Sarsynski, M.B.A., MassMutual

This article discusses how helping Americans retire effectively is good on many fronts. The author presents how MassMutual has leveraged some interesting research to build scenarios that provide very compelling reasons to make the successful retirement of American workers a much higher priority for business owners and for government. These scenarios reveal a different point of view on the need to drive employee action and retirement plan health in defined contribution retirement plans. What they’ve found is that there are parallels between an individual’s preparedness for retirement and the ability for companies to be and stay competitive.

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Mary-Beth Selby


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