Howard J. Elias of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America is the new president of GAMA International, effective June 1.
Elias, who has been with Guardian 29 years, is CEO of the company’s agency Wealth Advisory Group LLC, based in New York City.
After graduating from the University of Massachusetts–Amherst with a major in economics, Elias joined Guardian, serving as a financial representative from 1984 to 1998. He was also a sale manager with the company from 1987 to 1998. Since Elias became general agent of Wealth Advisory Group in 1999, the agency has won numerous Guardian awards.
A GAMA International member since 1993, Elias joined the GAMA board in 2008 and has been a supporter of the GAMA Foundation for Education and Research and the Life Foundation for many years. He has received numerous GAMA awards, including the Master Agency Award and National Management Award. In addition, Elias is a member of many other industry associations, including NAIFA, the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT)–Top of the Table, and the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU).
Laurie J. Fenwick, CEBS, FLMI, was promoted to director of compensation, payroll and human resources information services. Fenwick joined Securian in 1988 as a management trainee. She spent three years in the retirement plan business unit, then moved to human resources in 1993 as a benefits specialist. She received her bachelor’s degree from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn.
As director of individual annuity product development in annuity actuarial, Linda G. Sonterre is responsible for all aspects of developing and implementing individual annuity products and features. Sonterre joined Securian in 1987 as an analyst and technician in the Individual Actuarial department. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota.
Angela R. Schema, director of communications and market research, is responsible for all enterprise communications and research. Schema joined Securian in 2007 as a marketing communications account representative. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s degree from the College of St. Scholastica, St. Paul, Minn.
Symetra Financial Corporation (NYSE: SYA) appointed Michael McLean as chairman of the board and Thomas Doran as president at Medical Risk Managers Inc. (MRM).
McLean, who has served as MRM president since 1991, will transition to a strategic leadership role. As chairman of the board, he will be responsible for the long-term strategy of the company as well as client acquisition and retention. McLean joined MRM as executive vice president and chief operating officer in 1988. He previously worked at The Hartford Life Insurance Company and The Travelers. McLean is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries.
Doran’s appointment to president comes after three years as executive vice president of MRM. In his new position, he will have profit-and-loss responsibility and will run the company’s day-to-day operations. Doran joined MRM in 2010 following a successful career at Aetna, where he held a variety of actuarial roles. He is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries.
MRM, a wholly owned subsidiary of Symetra, is a managing general underwriting and consulting firm that specializes in medical stop-loss insurance.
Oracle announced Oracle Health Insurance Components. Together, an end-to-end solution to support the complete health insurance claims lifecycle, including pricing and benefits adjudication, as well as the payment of providers through alternative, non-fee for service reimbursement methods.
Healthcare payers can deploy Oracle Health Insurance Components individually in their service-oriented architecture (SOA) environments or pre-integrated for end-to-end payment processing. Built on a common architecture, Oracle Health Insurance Components enable a phased implementation, allowing customers to avoid a "big bang" system replacement and substantially reducing project risk.
Oracle Health Insurance Components include:
Oracle Health Insurance Claims Adjudication provides automated claims benefit adjudication to help payers accelerate processing, reduce costs and focus resources on more complex claims;
Oracle Health Insurance Claims Pricing helps payers to reduce operational costs by bundling claims into an episode of care and making a single payment to a provider, who then reimburses the other providers;
Oracle Health Insurance Product Definition enables payers to configure plans to meet unique client requirements;
Oracle Health Insurance Benefit Accumulator Management enables payers to avoid overpaying deductibles or benefit limits by providing a central source of truth for all member and family-level accumulators shared across multiple claims engines, and automatically tracks annual deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums and other limits;
Oracle Health Insurance Alternative Reimbursement helps payers to reduce operational overhead by providing automated payment generation; and
Oracle Health Insurance Claims Analytics provides payers with prebuilt dashboards, reports and metrics that enable them to monitor performance analyze key performance indicators and compare them to benchmarks.
American General Life Companies (American General), a part of AIG, launched the Lifestyle Income Rider issued by American General Life Insurance Company. This new rider can be issued with AG Secure Lifetime GUL (Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance) policies creating the Lifestyle Income Solution.
The Lifestyle Income Solution on AG Secure Lifetime GUL is available for issue ages 18-70 in specified amounts of $100,000 to $10,000,000 (conditions and limitations apply; see your agent for details). The Lifestyle Income Solution, which has its own premium, must be issued in conjunction with the Terminal Illness Rider on AG Secure Lifetime GUL.
"Our Lifestyle Income Solution features guaranteed monthly withdrawal benefits after as few as 15 years, regardless of the cash surrender value within the policy,” said Tim Heslin, Vice President, Product Strategy and Implementation for American General. “Further, clients have the flexibility to transform a portion of their life insurance benefit while they are still living to help supplement their retirement income. Customers can choose this living benefit and then stop it during payout if they decide they no longer need it and want to maintain a life insurance benefit. If they stop the living benefit, they can restart it at a later date. We want our customers to have more choices for supplementing their retirement income."
Aflac introduced Aflac Group Disability Advantage to provide benefits that help protect covered employees from loss of income resulting from accident or illness.
The product’s guaranteed-issue coverage includes increased disability benefits, optional benefits for pre-existing conditions, and optional limited benefits for mental illness and alcoholism/drug addiction. Other product highlights include:
- The maximum benefit replaces up to 60 percent of salary (or 40 percent in states with a state disability program);
- Increased maximum benefit to $6,000;
- The minimum hours worked has been reduced to 19 hours per week for employees to qualify for coverage;
- The minimum income has been reduced to $9,000 per year for employees to qualify for coverage;
- After a covered individual has been totally disabled for 90 days, premiums are waived until the benefit period expires.
A.M Best affirmed New York Life's A++ ratings for financial strength, while Standard & Poor’s restored the company’s stable outlook following a similar move restoring the outlook of the United States to stable. A.M Best and Fitch Ratings have New York Life on a stable outlook. Moody’s currently has New York Life at Aaa (exceptional).
Midland National Life Insurance Company introduced MNL SecureVantage, a flexible annuity solution featuring an enhanced death benefit. MNL SecureVantage is the first fixed index annuity from Midland National that offers a built-in enhanced death benefit equipped with a stacking roll-up feature to help grow the death benefit value for heirs.
The fixed index annuity has a built-in guaranteed minimum death benefit (GMDB) which provides multiple growth opportunities through a combination of bonuses and a GMDB stacking roll-up credit, plus interest credits. This combination is designed to grow the GMDB amount over the years to maximize the death benefit available to beneficiaries.
The annuity product also provides clients the opportunity to add an optional lifetime income rider for a cost with stacking roll-up potential as well, which gives clients more flexibility.
The Unity Financial Life Insurance Company in Cincinnati completed a productive aid drive for the victims of the Oklahoma tornados.
The day after Moore, Okla., was hit, Matthew 25 Ministries, an international humanitarian aid and disaster relief organization headquartered in Cincinnati, was on the ground in that city beginning distribution of their first 60,000 pounds of disaster relief. Within the next two days a semi tractor-trailer filled with 44,500 pounds of additional supplies (including the donations from Unity Financial) departed for Moore. The initial 60,000 pounds of aid included personal care kits, blankets, tarps, beverages, paper products, diapers, wipes and more than 90,000 of rice/soy meals.