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Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Evolution of Financial Underwriting

While tough medical underwriting cases tend to be quite onerous, carriers have become sensitive to the needs of prospective policy owners and have designed life products to combat these challenges. Two such products are survivor universal life (SUL) and indexed universal life (IUL).

SUL and IUL products have been on the market for quite a while but many carriers have become keen to the notion that ‘uninsurable’ and/or ‘heavily rated’ cases are where situations could be complex and time-sensitive.

Take for instance, this example: An SUL policy covering a standard risk owner can also provide coverage for a rated or even uninsurable owner. This solution, when coupled with a first-to-die rider, covers many scenarios:

1. In business cases, when an entity agreement is used it spreads the cost among owners equitably and also facilitates implementation of continuity plans.

2. In estate planning situations, the policy on both spouses interacts quite smoothly with the portability feature of the $5 million exemption wherein the major tax impact will typically arise upon the second death, which is precisely when the policy proceeds will be available.


Partners Advantage Insurance Services and their representatives do not give tax or legal advice. The material in this presentation and the concepts presented here are provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as tax or legal advice.

Discussions of the various planning strategies and issues are based on our understanding of the applicable federal income, gift, and estate tax laws at the time of this blog post. However, these laws are subject to interpretation and change, and there is no guarantee that the relevant tax authorities will accept Partners Advantage’s interpretations. Additionally, the information presented here does not consider the impact of applicable state laws upon clients and prospects.


Although care is taken in preparing this material and presenting it accurately, Partners Advantage Insurance Services disclaims any express or implied warranty as to the accuracy of any material contained herein and any liability with respect to it.

Keep in mind that most life insurance policies require health underwriting and, in some cases, financial underwriting. An optional rider is an additional feature available with some life insurance policies, and generally come with additional cost. Optional riders are designed to provide additional options above and beyond the standard provisions in life insurance.

For Financial Professional Use Only. Not for Use With The Public.

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Tax Tips for Running a Successful Company

The difference for successful companies between rough financial waters and smooth sailing during tax season often comes down to managing four scenarios:

1. Having Cash Available to Pay Taxes – While more profit usually means that more income was earned, not adequately managing the potential year-end tax bill can be a most unpleasant surprise.

Helpful tip: Pay estimated quarterly taxes each year.

2. Maintaining Required Tax and Financial Records – In order to know what items are deductible, you need to have good records that will back you up just in case the IRS decides to question your tax return.

Helpful tip: Use one of the latest smartphone tax and financial recording keeping apps to document expenditures.

3. Being Adequately Prepared for an Audit - An audit could cost you a substantial amount of both time and money, even if it turns out that you are ultimately correct and you prevail.

Helpful tip: Report any/all received business income.

4. Tax Deduction Opportunities – The continuous flow of new IRS regulations and tax-related rules being mandated make it difficult to keep up on a regular basis.

Helpful tip: Establish a good working relationship with a tax and/or financial organization to stay abreast of changes in tax code.

To learn more helpful tax planning tips, fill out this short form to view our Tax and Financial Concerns for Business Owners article in its entirety.
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Disclosures: This article is designed to provide general information on the subjects covered. It is not, however, intended to provide specific legal or tax advice and cannot be used to avoid tax penalties or to promote, market, or recommend any tax plan or arrangement. Please note that Partners Advantage Insurance Services and its representatives do not give legal or tax advice. Encourage your clients to consult their tax advisor or attorney. 

For Financial Professional Use Only. Not for use with consumers.

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Tax Time Tools for Retirement

There are so many details involving retirement planning, whether it’s figuring out how to build your clients’ future retirement income sources, maximizing their savings, or by showing them how to take advantage of tax-related opportunities. With all this in mind, it’s important to talk to your clients about tax issues – it could make a big difference for them once the paychecks stop coming in.

This means sharing these straightforward retirement concepts, especially when it could potentially provide your clients with additional resources they might need to retire comfortably.

• Make the most of any and all tax-deferred retirement savings plans that are available for them. For instance, if there’s an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan, it helps to contribute the maximum amount possible.
• Have them think about whether they are planning to work during retirement, even if it’s part-time. Estimate what amount of net income these paychecks will provide as there could be consequences in regards to his or her Social Security income.
• Take advantage of all medical-related tax savings, as medical expenses can be deducted that exceed 10 percent of their adjusted gross income.
• Ask them to think about where they plan to live because certain states offer more favorable tax rates. Also, they should consider sales tax and property tax rates.

To gain more information about tax advantages when talking with your clients about retirement, request the full article here:
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For Financial Professional Use Only. Not for use with consumers.
This material is intended for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as the basis for any investment or purchasing decision. Pursuant to IRS Circular 230, it is not intended to provide specific legal or tax advice and cannot be used to avoid tax penalties or to promote, market, or recommend any tax plan or arrangement. Encourage your clients to consult their tax advisor or attorney.

This information is not intended to be legal or tax advice. Partners Advantage can provide information, but not advice related to Social Security benefits. Clients should seek guidance from the Social Security Administration regarding their particular situation. Social Security payout rates can and will change at the sole discretion of the Social Security Administration. For more information, please direct your clients to a local Social Security Administration office, or visit www.ssa.gov.

Not affiliated with the U.S. Government or any governmental agency. This material is also not approved, produced or endorsed by the U.S. Government or the Social Security Administration.

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Strategies to Create More Income Using Few Assets

As retirement gets closer, many people begin looking forward to the freedom and flexibility of being able to travel and enjoy activities they never had time for during working years. This is why they strive for retirement strategies that make sure there are adequate funds for living comfortably.

But there’s a problem! It’s projected that the Social Security fund could run dry by 20411, which means many believe they can’t rely solely on it for retirement income and many feel they’ll have to work longer to cover their future needs. This is why people approaching retirement are seeking options for liquidity, additional opportunity and growth, and ways to meet legacy goals.

In some cases, delaying Social security benefits is an option for your clients, but you’ll need to address where your clients will get their income during those years, as well as how they’ll fund a retirement that could now last as long as 35 years.

The question is: How can we help them?
Learn more by requesting this informational article By Curtis V. Cloke, CLTC, LUTCF, RICP®
Trainer and presenter in the Partners Advantage Advanced Coaching and Business Building Program.
Can a First In/Blend Out Deferred Income Annuity (FIBO® DIA) Create More Options for Your Clients?

Learn more about:
• Helping your clients build a retirement income floor.
• Helping Bridge the income gap if delaying social security benefits.
• Offering clients more options that help address inflation, with favorable tax treatment and a higher income potential.

Fill out my online form.


1 http://www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/TR/TR08/II_conclu.html, last accessed 1/14/15

For Financial Professional Use Only. Not for use with consumers.

Guarantees provided by annuities are subject to the financial strength of the issuing insurance company; not guaranteed by any bank of the FDIC. Annuities are designed to meet long-term needs for retirement income. They provide guarantees against the loss of principal and credited interest, and the reassurance of a death benefit for beneficiaries. This material is intended for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as the basis for any investment or purchasing decision.

Pursuant to IRS Circular 230, it is not intended to provide specific legal or tax advice and cannot be used to avoid tax penalties or to promote, market, or recommend any tax plan or arrangement. Encourage your clients to consult their tax advisor or attorney. Riders are additional features available on some annuities, and generally come with additional costs. Insurance policies and/or associated riders and features may not be available in all states, and policy terms and conditions may vary by state.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Navigate the World of Annuity Suitability Using These Eight Tips

With annuity suitability measures becoming more rigid and seemingly more complicated and confusing in recent years, there are several, pro-active, common sense steps you can take to help avoid roadblocks when taking an annuity application.

1. Complete Your Product Training and CE – Why wait until you have an annuity application pending to take the required product training? Similarly, if you haven’t already taken the required four-hour course covering all-things annuity, schedule the appointment today!
2. Get to Know Your Clients – Build a level of trust and comfort that extends beyond the “one-transaction” model.
3. Ask Your Client Pertinent Questions – Familiarize yourself with the 12 critical questions in the NAIC Suitability Model Regulations. This forms the basis of all suitability forms across all carriers.
4. Document Your Meeting & Analyze Your Client’s Information – It’s absolutely vital to create a paper trail. Document everything that was discussed and all fact-finding efforts leading up to a product recommendation and sale.
5. Recommend a Suitable Product – While most agents have a specific product they prefer to sell, understand that one-size does not fit all. Work with the marketers at Partners Advantage to find the most suitable options for your client.
6. Understand the Insurer’s Suitability – Know in advance what specific issues might trigger a heightened suitability review at the carriers you are sending your application to. Different carriers have different emphasis on areas of importance when it comes to reviewing for suitability. Become familiar with their thresholds and guidelines before taking an application.
7. Complete the Suitability Form in Its Entirety – Simple enough – an incomplete form will stop your pending business in its tracks.
8. Write a Cover Letter to Support the Sale – Tell the client’s story in a simple letter that gives relevant information about the application, further details about any replacements and financials goals motivating the purchase. A little more info goes a long way when these applications are getting reviewed for suitability.

Request our Annuity Suitability white paper written by Partners Advantage Director of Suitability and Compliance, Ria Cruz, to obtain in-depth information on the Eight Tips outlined above. For more information and case assistance, contact Partners Advantage at 888-251-5525.

For financial professional use only. Not for use with consumers.

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Annuity Sales Trends in 2015

Annuity products continued to witness another banner year perhaps, as reports indicate, due to consumer cravings for more ways to avoid market risk and help build retirement savings. Looking back, the second quarter of 2014 saw 10 percent year-over-year growth in sales to $119.5 billion.1
Here are some additional annuity sales trends you should know when evaluating where and how annuities should fit into your 2015 business plan:
• Fixed annuity sales were up an extraordinary 34% in the second quarter from the same period in 2013, while on the other side of the spectrum, variable annuity sales declined 5 percent.1
• Second quarter fixed indexed annuity sales soared 40 percent from 2013 for a total of $13 billion. Furthermore, a good deal of this growth has been fueled by banks and broker-dealers entering the indexed annuity distribution market. 1
• More consumers are electing guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefits on fixed indexed annuities. The election rate reached 72 percent in this year’s second quarter, a 4 percent year-over-year increase. 1
• Immediate annuity sales in Q2 of 2014 gained 37 percent over 2013, reaching $2.6 billion.
• Deferred income annuity sales rose to $710 million in the second quarter, marking a 33 percent improvement over 2013’s sales figures. 1

Fixed annuity products offering protection from market declines with the opportunity for interest-crediting continue to lead the charge in the annuity marketplace, and the demand for indexed and income annuity products signals the overall shift of the industry to the fixed side of annuities. Some variable products with living benefits have seen this benefit decrease or even removed completely, leaving the product practically stripped down to the basic variable annuity. Fortunately, the fixed side of the industry has several products and rider options for consumers seeking the protection of lifetime income benefits.

For financial professional use only. Not for consumer use.

Guarantees provided by annuities are subject to the financial strength of the issuing insurance company; not guaranteed by any bank of the FDIC. Guaranteed lifetime income is available through annuitization or the purchase of an optional lifetime income rider, a benefit for which an annual premium is charged.

Annuities are designed to meet long-term needs for retirement income. They provide guarantees against the loss of premium and credited interest, and the reassurance of a death benefit for beneficiaries.

Sources:
1“LIMRASecureRetirementInstitute:TotalAnnuitySalesImproveEightpercentinSecondQuarter2014,”LIMRA:http://www.limra.com/Posts/PR/News_Releases/LIMRA_Secure_Retirement_Institute___Total_Annuity_Sales_Improve_Eight_Percent_in_Second_Quarter_2014.aspx

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

February is an Opportunity to Share the Love of Life Insurance

People buy life insurance for many reasons, but in many cases it is because they love someone and want to protect them financially.

February—the month of love—is a good time to reach out to clients and prospects about their life insurance needs. The "Insure Your Love" campaign, coordinated by Life Happens, is now in its seventh year. It allows financial professionals to bring emotion or humor into a conversation that is usually serious or dry.

February and Valentine’s Day provide you with a good opportunity to remind clients and prospects of their need to protect the ones they love through proper life insurance strategies. But keep in mind, love is eternal, making the "Insure Your Love" theme appropriate all year long.

Partners Advantage is a corporate member of Life Happens. Insurance professionals can access materials for "Insure the Love" or other campaigns at LifeHappens.org. You can register insurance professional resources referencing Partners Advantage Insurance Services from the list of member companies. Contact the Life Team at Partners Advantage for complete assistance 12 hours each business day (7 a.m. - 7 p.m. Central) at 888-251-5525, Ext. 704.

Partners Advantage is an independent insurance marketing organization and a nationally recognized leader in the life insurance, annuity and linked benefit products marketplace. Our MISSION is to deliver solutions and opportunities for financial professionals to succeed with the highest standard of integrity. Working with dedicated financial professionals, we strive to achieve our VISION of American families protected and secured.

For Financial Professional Use Only. Not for use with the public.

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