Make It A Baker’s Dozen

Jun 28, 2021

By: Curt Leonard and Sallie Bryant


For the longest time the number 13 has been considered cursed and unlucky.

But times are changing. And thanks to recent actions by the Alabama Department of Insurance, Alabama residents could rightly consider 13 as their new lucky number.

Alabama recently became the 13th state with a new rule or law that incorporates the enhanced consumer protections in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIC) updated model regulation on annuity transactions.

Championed by Alabama Insurance Commissioner Jim Ridling and his senior staff, the regulation enhances the standards financial professionals must follow while ensuring that individual savers maintain access to, and information about, annuities, the only financial product in the marketplace that can provide guaranteed lifetime income.

Building on this momentum, several other states are considering similar measures to protect their citizens. This is a huge win for savers. And it’s not due to luck.

The actions in the states closely align with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation Best Interest, which took effect last year. And, unlike a fiduciary-only approach, these measures make sure savers, particularly financially vulnerable middle-income Americans, can access information about different choices for long-term security through retirement.

With these enhanced state and federal consumer protections, savers can be confident that financial professionals must act in the consumer’s best interest when offering recommendations about annuities. The U.S. Congress confirmed the importance of lifetime income when it passed legislation in 2019 that made it easier for employers to include annuities in workplace retirement plans. These protections safeguard consumers while also ensuring that middle- and working-class families will retain access to easy-to-understand financial information.

More states should follow Alabama with this practical consumer protection. Then more consumers across America looking to protect their family’s financial future will have the good fortune of benefitting from a best interest standard of care, no matter where they live.

(Sallie Bryant, Chair of the NAIFA-AL Government Relations Committee, is from Birmingham, Alabama.)

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Curt Leonard

Curt Leonard is Regional Vice President, State Relations at the American Council of Life Insurers. He is responsible for state legislative and regulatory affairs in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina. He also leads ACLI’s state advocacy team on issues of genetic science and long term care insurance. He joined ACLI in 2003.