Sage Consulting Blog

Sage commentary from the Sage Experts

Due Care Update: A Summary of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012

A Summary of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, a new Act signed into law on January 2 that increased federal income tax raste on higher income Americans, among other changes.

Moody’s Says U.S. Life Insurers Would Be Exposed to Prolonged Low Rates in a Fiscal Cliff

In the final published Due Care Update of 2012, Moody’s Says U.S. Life Insurers Would Be Exposed to Prolonged Low Rates in a Fiscal Cliff, end of year ratings actions and a summary of financial carrier strengths.

Latest Due Care Update: Sun Life Financial to Sell U.S. Annuity and Variable Life Business

Sun Life Financial recently announced the execution of a definitive agreement whereby Delaware Life Holdings, a company owned by shareholders of Guggenheim Partners, will purchase Sun Life’s domestic U.S. annuity and variable life businesses.

News for Principles-Based Reserves (PBR)

The latest Due Care Update features information on Principles Based Reserves and the NAIC's approved new rules for US life insurers set reserves for funding future claims.

Due Care Update: Latest Ratings Actions, Credit Outlooks & Summary of Financial Strengths

Latest ratings actions, credit outlooks and summary of financial carrier strengths in the latest Due Care Update.

The impact of AG 38: Product changes highlighted in the latest Due Care Update

The impact of federal regulation AG 38 is highlighted in the latest Due Care Update released by M Financial and Sage Consulting.

Due Care Update: Ratings Actions, Carrier Financial Strengths, ING files statement for proposed IPO

The latest Due Care Update is available and features recent ratings actions, carrier financial strengths, and information on ING U.S. filing statements with SEC on proposed IPO.

November Ratings Actions & Summary of Financial Carrier Strengths

November issue of M Due Care Update featuring Ratings Actions and Summary of Financial Carrier Strengths

Annuities provide sound alternative for guaranteed retirement income

A recent TIME Magazine article highlights why annuities are a good avenue for securing retirement income.

Securing Retirement Income Using Life Insurance

New video in response to a recent NY Time article featuring solutions for securing your retirement income.

Ratings Actions and Summary of Financial Carrier Strenghts - October

The latest summary of ratings actions and carrier financial strengths, including an industry outlook downgrade made by Moody's from stable to negative for the US Insurance industry.

As seen in the NY Times: For Top Executives, Richer Retirement Plans

A recent NY Times article highlights the ways in which corporation are retaining their key executives and protecting their employees' retirement plans.

Jason Kurchner, CFP talks about the Sage audit process

New video: the value of regularly auditing your life insurance products can translate into big savings. Sage Consulting offers a specialized audit process for our clients.

Watch our latest video post on the expiring tax and gift estate tax provisions

A new video on the expiring tax and gift estate tax provisions that includes tax-free gifts to heirs of up to $5.12 million and creative solutions including the use of an irrevocable trust.

NY Times features article on gift and estate tax provisions

A recent article in the NY Times features provisions on estate and gift tax breaks that are due to expire at the end of the year. We discussed alternatives and means to avoid future taxation using creative methodoligies Sage is best known for.

First round of September ratings actions and financial carrier strengths

In the latest M Due Care Update, ratings actions and financial carrier strengths are reviewed; NAIC approved revisions to NLG reserves highlighted.

Jason Kurchner, CFP talks about the Sage approach to corporate benefit solutions

Corporate benefits offered by Sage provide leverage in retaining your most valued employees through unique and creative solutions.

Jason Kurchner, CFP discusses the recently announced partnership between TIAA-CREF and M Financial

As an M Member firm, Sage Consulting and Wealth Preservation is pleased to share in the unique partnership as announced between TIAA-CREF, a leader in non-profit financial planning world, and M Financial.

Latest August Ratings and Summary of Financial Carrier Strengths

Latest ratings actions and summary of financial carrier strengths now availablef or review.

Special Trust Provisions Add Flexibility to Transfer Tax Reductions Strategies

Wealth transfer planning often involves strategies designed to minimize income, estate,and gift taxes. In recent years, frequent but temporary changes in the tax law have created uncertainty for affluent individuals and their advisors. However, experts resoundingly agree that the current opportunity to transfer up to $5.12M per individual, free from federal estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer (GST) taxes, is unlikely to last.Therefore, limited time remains to take advantage of it. Since the complex nature of planning can require substantial time, the process should be initiated now to ensure the value of this provision can be maximized before year-end.

Latest July Ratings Actions and Summary of Financial Strength Ratings

Latest July Ratings Actions and M Financial Carriers Summary of Financial Strengths Ratings.

M Due Care Update: Ratings actions and complete summary of financial strengths

M Due Care Update: Ratings actions and complete summary of financial strengths

TIAA-CREF and M Financial partner to provide exception value for the clients of M member firms

As an M member firm, Sage Consulting and Wealth Preservation is pleased to announce the latest joint venture between M Financial and TC Life, a wholly owned subsidiary of Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA).

More June Ratings Actions, plus IRS releases applicable federal rates for July

Various ratings actions, including an affirmation on TIAA and its wholly owned subsidiary, TIAA-CREF Life Insurance Company.

June Ratings Actions - M Financial carriers summary of financial strengths

The most recent of ratings actions made on carriers and ratings reports. Plus, Standard & Poor's issues analysis of TIAA and TIAA-CREF and its very strong financial strength rating.

Sage team joins industry professionals for annual M Financial Marketing Meeting

Sage team joins industry professionals for annual M Financial Marketing Meeting

Ratings actions - M Financial Carriers Summary of Financial Strengths

A detailed breakdown on various ratings actions and a summary of M Financial Carrier financial strengths.

Ratings Actions - M Financial Carriers Summary of Financial Strength Ratings

The latest ratings actions - M Financial Carriers Summary of Financial Strength Ratings.

Ratings actions on Sun Life by A.M. Best

On April 11, A.M. Best took two separate actions involving the U.S. insurance entities of Sun Life Financial, Inc. (Sun Life). First, A.M. Best affirmed its financial strength ratings of ‘A+’ (Superior) for Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada and the U.S. Branch of Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada. Second, A.M. Best downgraded its financial strength rating on Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada (U.S.) and its subsidiaries (Sun Life US) to ‘A’ (Excellent) from ‘A+’ (Superior). The outlook on all ratings is stable.

Hartford Financial Announces Exit from U.S. Individual Life and Annuity Market

On March 21, The Hartford Financial Services Group (Hartford) announced that it will exit the individual annuity business and will divest its individual life and retirement plans businesses. The company says it is focusing on its property and casualty, group benefits, and mutual fund businesses. Sales of individual annuities will cease on April 27, 2012, and the business will be put into runoff mode. The company stated it will continue to write new individual life and retirement plan business while pursuing a sale or other strategic alternatives for those lines.

M Financials Analysis of Northwestern Mutuals Dividend Interest Rate

NML Dividend Continues to Trend Downward: Northwestern Mutual (NML)recently announced that its Whole Life dividend interest rate for 2010 will be reduced by 35 basis points (bps) to 6.15%. M Financial Group has analyzed NML’s dividend interest rate (relative to a benchmark to which it is highly correlated). Based on this analysis we anticipate further downward pressure on NML’s dividend interest rate even if interest rates remain level or begin to trend upward.

Private Placement Insurance Products: Exclusive and Flexible Opportunity for High Net Worth Clients

Private placement insurance products occupy a unique place in the spectrum of financial products. While having the same tax benefits, private placement insurance products offer policy structures and investment alternatives not found in traditional retail variable universal life (VUL) and variable annuity (VA) products.

Explaining Ratings Actions

Various Ratings Actions explained, including a complete summary of M Carrier financial strength ratings.

An Illustrated Overview of Whole Life Versus Universal Life Insurance

An illustrated performance comparison between Wl and UL insurance products.

An Assessment of Whole Life Versus Universal Life Insurance Products

A high level overview of the similarities/differences, myths, and strengths/challenges when comparing WL and UL.

Assessing the Impact of Low Interest Rates on Life Insurance Products

Interest rates have a direct impact on life insurers and the products that they issue and manage. Companies generally make profits from the spread between what they earn on their general account portfolios and what they credit as interest on insurance policies. Policy owners are impacted as low interest rates result in lower investment returns credited to policies over time.

A Look at Various Ratings Actions

A look at various Ratings Actions relative to insurers financial strength throughout 2011

Lincoln Financial Group Crediting Rate Action

Last week, Lincoln Financial Group (LFG) announced it is reducing the crediting rates to the guaranteed minimums on all of its general account UL products, as well as the fixed account for all of its VUL products, effective January 1, 2012. The crediting rate reductions, which impact both new sales and in-force policies, range from 70 to 110 bps.

S&P Downgrade of U.S. Credit Rating: Initial Perspectives

On August 5, 2011, Standard & Poor’s Rating Services (S&P) downgraded the long-term credit rating of the United States of America to ‘AA+’ from ‘AAA’ and maintained its negative rating outlook. The action came after S&P placed the rating on CreditWatch Negative on July 15, 2011.

The Importance and Nature of Assessing Life Insurance Company Financial Strength

The accompanying Due Care Bulletin in this post reviews the importance and nature of assessing insurance company financial strength when purchasing or managing an existing life insurance policy. An assessment of financial strength primarily focuses on the role of rating agencies, ordinarily the most important source of financial strength information and guidance. In addition, other sources of information can be helpful and are presented toward the end of this bulletin.

A Review of Indexed Universal Life Considerations

Indexed universal life (IUL) is the most recent product variation of permanent life insurance. IUL provides a crediting rate tied to the growth of an equity index typically subject to a cap and floor.

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