The Senate passed S. 1926, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, which provides rate relief for homeowners who cannot afford the new flood insurance rate hikes that resulted from reforms enacted in 2012. Also included in the flood bill is the legislative text of a bill known as the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers Reform Act (NARAB II). In September 2013, the House passed NARAB II by an overwhelming vote of 397 to 6. The Senate bill is a companion to the House bill.
The insurance industry enters 2014 with even less certainty than it did 2013, as the transition to a stronger federal role in overseeing company balance sheets as well as markets continues. The new year will be a critical one for the industry as the rollout of the new healthcare law continues, some insurance companies come under federal oversight for the first time, and the Federal Reserve begins to transition away from its current below-market interest rate policy.
A recent survey conducted by International Communications Research (ICR) for the Lifeline Program found that 55 percent of seniors have let a life insurance policy terminate. Yet, large numbers of producers and consumers still know little or nothing about life settlements and, as a result, the opportunity to maximize the value of a policy about to be lapsed or surrendered is lost.
Beacon Research has announced that annuities in several categories broke sales records in the third quarter of 2013. Total annuity sales were nearly $22.5 billion in the third quarter, up from $17 billion in the second quarter. Total annuity sales increased more than 35% since the third quarter of 2012.