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New education protector from EPIC safeguards student-athletes' education

Also Allianz, EPIC, Voya, Guardian, MDRT, Hinshaw & Culbertson, Sun Life Financial, MassMutual, OneAmerica, The American College

Louisville quarterback Will Gardner launches a pass over Miami lineman Anthony Chickillo at an NCAA college football game. (AP/Garry Jones)
Louisville quarterback Will Gardner launches a pass over Miami lineman Anthony Chickillo at an NCAA college football game. (AP/Garry Jones)

New education protector from EPIC safeguards student-athletes' education

EPIC Insurance Brokers and Consultants announced the Education Protector(SM) from EPIC, a product designed specifically for eligible high school athletes under 21 years old and who have received a verbal athletic NCAA scholarship offer With the cost of a college education exceeding $200,000 in some cases, college-bound athletes dependent on athletic scholarships face major exposure to the loss of a scholarship in the event of injury prior to signing a letter of intent with an institution of higher learning. With Education Protector, students and their families can plan against this exposure to a lost education.

The policy provide funds for tuition reimbursement in the event the athlete is injured between receiving the verbal offer for an athletic scholarship or grant and the signing of the Letter of Intent, which binds the athletic scholarship or grant. Education Protector will initially be available in the state of California and will eventually be made available elsewhere across the country.

More about Education Protector and how to purchase the coverage can be found at http://www.educationprotector.com/

Annual Driving to Donate tournament contributions will support 24/7 helpline

Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life®) announced that its annual Driving to Donate Charity Golf Tournament raised more than $185,000, surpassing last year’s record total of $179,000, to the Alzheimer’s Association MN-ND. Over the past five years, Driving to Donate has raised more than $720,000 for the non-profit that provides advocacy, support services and care consultation for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

All proceeds from this year’s tournament will directly support the non-profit’s 24/7 Alzheimer’s Association Helpline, which offers personal support to individuals, family members, caregivers and professionals affected by the disease.

The Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline provides information and support to individuals dealing with memory loss, caregivers, healthcare professionals and the public. The master level clinicians offer various other types of information including treatment options, care, legal and financial references and living-arrangement decisions.

Guardian expands student loan protection coverage

The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America®, a mutual life insurer and provider of individual disability income insurance, is expanding its Student Loan Protection Rider to be available to anyone with student loan debt. This rider enables individuals to meet their student loan obligations if they become too ill or injured to work. 

Available as optional coverage that can be layered onto Guardian’s ProVider Plus or ProVider Plus Limited disability income (DI) insurance policies, Guardian’s Student Loan Protection Rider allows individuals to secure up to $2,000 per month – in addition to the monthly income replacement benefit they would receive as part of their base policy – to stay on track with their loan payments. Unlike many other kinds of debt, student loans cannot be discharged in the event of bankruptcy. Many graduates assume that federal student loans come with exceptions in the case of disability, but the government’s standard is quite restrictive. Under current law, only individuals with “total and permanent” disabilities can have their federal student loans discharged. The vast majority of income-disrupting disabilities, such as back problems and many forms of cancer, generally don’t fall under this definition. And private loans may not have any provisions for disability at all.

Million Dollar Round Table announces new 2014–2015 executive committee leadership

The Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) announced the appointment of Caroline A. Banks, APFS, to president and James Pittman, CLU, CFP, to secretary of the organization’s executive committee, effective Sept. 1, 2014.

Banks, of London’s West End, will be the organization’s first woman outside of the United States to be appointed as president and will assume the role as the 89th president. In her role, Banks will lead the association of more than 42,000 international members for a one-year term.

Banks is a 25-year MDRT member and has achieved the organization’s highest honors in regards to professional excellence with 20 Top of the Table honors. Her leadership roles in MDRT include serving as a three-time divisional vice president of the following committees that help MDRT determine how to best serve members: 2011 Special Projects, 2008 Annual Meeting Program Development Committee and 2007 Membership Communications Committee.

As president, Banks will work with the executive committee to ensure MDRT continues to offer career-shaping resources such as informative articles on practice management and client services tips, networking opportunities, and much more for members to broaden their expertise, improve client service and grow their businesses.

“Financial associations have the power to motivate and positively mold professionals by delivering exceptional tools. I’m looking forward to leading MDRT’s structured and well-rounded team to continue educating and inspiring new and seasoned advisors through our resources and events,” said Banks. 

Banks succeeds 35-year MDRT member Michelle L. Hoesly, CLU, ChFC, of Norfolk, Va., who will become the immediate past president. Brian D. Heckert, CLU, ChFC, a 26-year MDRT member of Nashville, Ill., will serve as first vice president, and Mark J. Hanna, CLU, ChFC, a 26-year MDRT member of Concord, Calif., will serve as second vice president.

Hinshaw & Culberston LLP, Barger & Wolen LLP announce merger

Hinshaw & Culberston LLP, a law firm with 460 lawyers in 22 offices around the country, and Barger & Wolen LLP, a California-based insurance litigation and regulatory firm with 45 lawyers in six offices, announced they will combine forces. The merger creates one of the largest insurance law practices in the United States with 120 full-time attorneys dedicated to providing legal counsel to insurance companies and financial services firms that serve the insurance industry.

The partner votes took place on August 28, 2014 and the merger will become effective on October 1, 2014. The combined firm will keep the name Hinshaw & Culbertson and have over 500 attorneys in 11 states, as well as London.

Sun Life Financial leverages big data to help brokers and employers

The U.S. business group of Sun Life Financial Inc. (NYSE: SLF, TSX: SLF)  has launched the Benefit Profile, a powerful data analytics decision-support tool that helps brokers and employers design and deliver competitive, appealing employee benefits plans customized to meet the needs of the American workforce.

The Benefit Profile’s big data technology synthesizes an employer's own census data and a broad range of industry benchmarks to provide a straightforward graphic analysis that compares gender, age, and income to benchmarks based on buying patterns reflected in Sun Life policy records, and complemented by industry resources such as Group MarketShare, LLC.

Voya Financial launches new advertising and website; expands voluntary benefits offering to New York State employers

Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), formerly ING U.S., announced that it has launched a new consumer marketing campaign to support the company’s rebranding activities and also introduced its new website. 

Voya’s multi-step rebranding process began in April this and the company’s five business segments followed and are now all operating as Voya. 

In other news, Voya also announced that its employee benefits business will now offer the company’s Compass-branded accident insurance and specified disease insurance (also known as critical illness insurance) products to customers in New York state. Compass products are now available in all 50 states as well as Washington, D.C.  

MassMutual names Aruna Hobbs as new head of institutional investments for retirement plans

MassMutual Retirement Services has named Aruna Hobbs as head of institutional investments for retirement plans as part of a strategy to more aggressively promote its mutual funds and stable value investments to retirement plan sponsors and their financial advisors.

Hobbs is overseeing the stable value unit as well as a newly created team of seven sales and service representatives who are promoting MassMutual’s mutual funds to recordkeeping and investment-only clients.

Hobbs comes to MassMutual after serving as managing director and head of stable value for New York Life Investments. Previously, she held a series of executive positions in the institutional unit of Aegon Americas and Transamerica. She has an MS in economics from Oklahoma State University, a Masters in international trade from the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade in India, and a Bachelor of Arts from St. Xavier in India.

OneAmerica® promotes Gene Berry to senior vice president

Gene Berry, chief information officer, has been promoted to senior vice president for the companies of OneAmerica. Berry, who joined the company in April of 2010, sets the overall vision and strategy for the technology division for the growing financial services company. A 30-year industry veteran, Berry holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Ohio State University and Master’s Degree from California State University, Fullerton and previously served in roles at Alcoa Aluminum, Fremont Life Insurance Company and, most recently, Shenandoah Life Insurance.

Robert Johnson to lead The American College

The board of trustees of The American College of Financial Services named Robert R. Johnson, Ph.D., CFA, CAIA, as president and chief executive officer beginning October 1, 2014.  Dr. Johnson’s extensive scholarship, experience in investment management, and results in building global awareness for financial services education make him uniquely qualified to lead the country’s largest accredited, non-profit educator dedicated to the financial services profession.                                      

During the past few years, The American College of Financial Services has launched a Ph.D. in retirement and financial planning, the Retirement Income Certified Professional® – a new credential that already has more than 5,000 advisors enrolled – and a CFAexam prep program.

Dr. Johnson is the author of multiple books and scholarly articles on portfolio management, asset valuation, wealth management, and monetary policy.  He currently serves as professor of Finance in Creighton University's Heider College of Business and is on the board of RS Investment Management. From 1996 to 2011, he held a number of senior executive positions at the CFA Institute and has extensive experience with credentialing programs, ethical and professional codes of conduct, and global business expansion.

He received the 2013 Alfred C. “Pete” Morley Distinguished Service Award from the CFA Institute, the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Student Award for Teaching Achievement at Creighton University and held the Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year Award at Creighton for three years. He holds the CFA charter, the CAIA charter, a BSBA degree from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, an MBA from Creighton University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

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