Annuity Market 2014: Top Producers See Strong Opportunity
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This is that time of the year when we start to read reports that tell us how well particular products sold in the previous year. It might be interesting to learn whether life sales were up or down in the prior year – they were down, by the way – but what’s much more impactful, in my view, is what top producers are saying about their own business. After all, top producers know the market intimately. And no matter what the “30,000-foot view” tells you about the market as a whole, only those who know it intimately can tell you where the real opportunities lie.
That’s why I asked two of the top annuity producers I know about the state of the annuity business.
Not only are Ryan J. Pinney, CSFP, of Roseville, California, and Marc A. Silverman, MBA, ChFC, Certified Financial Planner ™, of Miami, Florida, two of the best annuity producers in the country, they are also straight shooters. They understand the market’s strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and challenges. And most importantly, they’re willing to share that insights straightforwardly.
I asked Ryan about his firm’s 2013 annuity business. Overall, what kind of a year was it? “Last year was a great year for our annuity business,” Ryan told me. “We were up nearly 25% over the previous year and had especially strong growth and sales in the fourth quarter.”
Ryan explained, “One reason for our success has been early adoption of new carriers and products in the space. Since 2011, for example, more carriers have started offering fixed indexed annuities, which has given us some really strong options to sell. Companies like ING are active in their own marketing, and making sure producers know about their latest offerings. We had several folks from ING and Genworth attend a roadshow we put on in 2013. They went over new products in detail, such as ING’s Interest Rate Benchmark Strategy. When there are new products out there, we’re one of the first to learn about them, sell them, and then help others sell them, too.”
Marc Silverman had a strong 2013 as well, but cited different reasons for his success. “Last year was a great year for our annuity business, because the market place in which we work -- a middle-America market -- really desires the guarantees that annuities afford. Because we have a large database of Baby Boomers, there is always a percentage of the database who are retiring. We discuss both the annuity and non-annuity options. Most people prefer the annuity -- guarantee option. Therefore, we were very successful in acquiring new business in 2013, as I suspect we will in 2014.”
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