Analyst: Insurers face bigger risks than coronavirus | Insurers: Annuities ripe for acceptance, innovation | Report shows rising insurer participation in ACA markets
February 27, 2020
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Top Story
The coronavirus outbreak is little more than a nuisance for US life insurance companies, with low interest rates and investment risk more pressing issues, according to Neil Stein, a director at S&P Global Ratings. He says that even a severe outbreak on the level of the 1918 flu pandemic "would be manageable, considering insurers' overall financial strength."
Full Story: ThinkAdvisor (free registration) (2/25) 
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Industry News
Insurance industry executives agree that the passage of the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act will increase the use of annuities in 401(k)s but say it won't happen quickly. "I do think the safe harbor will create more interest from plan sponsors and drive uptake of existing options and some innovation," said Sri Reddy, senior vice president in the retirement and income solutions unit of Principal Financial Group.
Full Story: ThinkAdvisor (free registration) (2/24) 
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The number of health insurance providers that participated in federal and state-based Affordable Care Act exchanges increased from 218 during the 2018-2019 plan year to 245 for the 2019-2020 plan year, according to a report from McKinsey & Co. The percentage of counties with one insurer also fell to 25% this year from 36% last year while prices in the exchanges also improved, especially in states with reinsurance programs.
Full Story: Healthcare Finance (2/24) 
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The coronavirus outbreak could end a yearslong US economic boom by disrupting markets and lowering consumer confidence, economists say. Concerns have wiped out $2 trillion in stock market value, widened corporate spreads and increased the value of the US dollar.
Full Story: Reuters (2/26),  BNN Bloomberg (Canada) (2/26) 
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Investment Trends
Stocks continue to decline in the US, Asia and Europe, with futures trades indicating further losses and lower oil prices, as the coronavirus outbreak widens. President Donald Trump has appointed Vice President Mike Pence to spearhead the US response to the outbreak.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (2/26),  Financial Times (subscription required) (2/27),  CNN (2/27),  Politico (2/26) 
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Investors are unloading high-yield bond exchange-traded funds amid concerns about economic consequences of the coronavirus outbreak. Withdrawals have totaled more than $4 billion during the past week, Bloomberg-compiled data shows.
Full Story: BNN Bloomberg (Canada) (2/26) 
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Policy Watch
Financial professions are cheering a statement by a spokesman for Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin making it clear that the state's new fiduciary standard doesn't apply to sales of variable annuities. Under Massachusetts law, variable annuities are considered insurance products, not securities, making them exempt, the aide said.
Full Story: InvestmentNews (tiered subscription model) (2/26) 
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Building Your Business
Many financial advisors avoid working with millennial clients because they say they have unrealistic expectations and balk at paying even small fees. Millennial clients, on the other hand, say many advisors seem disinterested in working with them and offer basic advice that isn't worth paying for.
Full Story: InvestmentNews (tiered subscription model) (2/23) 
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Remarketing should be part of an advisory firm's comprehensive marketing strategy to convert prospects to clients, writes John Jones of USA Financial. He offers three tips for getting started on remarketing.
Full Story: WealthManagement (2/25) 
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Everything starts from a dot.
Wassily Kandinsky,
painter, art theorist, pioneer of abstract art
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