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Sell an annuity, go to prison

March 21, 2012
That’s what happened to an insurance agent in California recently.  There have been dozens of articles about this case recently, including THIS ONE from the March 18 Wall Street Journal.  The agent was convicted of selling a complex annuity to an 83-year-old woman who had shown signs of dementia.  And the shockwaves are reverberating through the agent and insurer community.  The bottom line for fraternals is that you – and your field force – need to make sure your products match members’ needs.  Annuity suitability regulation is one of the hottest topics at meetings of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), and individual state regulators are establishing suitability rules that impose stiff penalties – including jail time – for those that violate the law.  Want more information on annuity suitability laws in the states in which you operate? Send me an email at jannotti@fraternalalliance.org and we’ll get you what you need. A “Must Read” for Every Fraternal Executive… I just finished reading You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church…and Rethinking Faith and would advise everyone with an interest in revitalizing the fraternal business model to pick up this book today.  Written by David Kinnaman, a pastor’s son and professional researcher, You Lost Me “shows pastors, church leaders, and parents how we have failed to equip young people to live ‘in but not of’ the world and how this has serious long-term consequences.  More importantly, Kinnaman offers ideas on how to help young people develop and maintain a vibrant faith that they can embrace over a lifetime.”  Because most fraternals are faith-based (even those societies not tied to a particular denomination are composed of members who also belong to a religious community), you can substitute the word “fraternal” for “church” or “organized religion” throughout the book and learn the same lessons.  The parallels are striking.  Seriously, read this book – today.  You’ll put some of the ideas to work in your society (and facilitate opportunities for all your members – young and old – to put their faith to work) tomorrow. The Best Advice I Ever Received… OK, I’ve been writing about serious topics over the past few weeks, but have not seen much in the way of your comments posted in response to them.  I’ve come to realize that the blogs that generate the most interaction are those that are…personal.  So in between writing on important issues like solvency, relevance, and governance, I’m going to try to include items that elicit some feedback from you folks.  Let’s start with this question: What’s the best advice you ever received? Here’s my short list of words of wisdom (and the source):
  • “Make yourself indispensible.”  (my dad)
  • “Walk in like you own the place.”  (my mom)
  • “If you meet three jerks in one day, take a look in the mirror; you may find that the real jerk is looking back at you.”  (a mentor)
Now it’s your turn.  Post the best advice you ever received and let’s see if it can inspire others…