The Society for Annuity Facts and Education, Inc. (SAFE) announced June 27 that Sheryl J. Moore has been elected to the position of SAFE President, and Lowell Aronoff has been elected to the recently added position of SAFE Vice President. Both will serve in their positions through December 2015.
Moore, the founder, creator, president & CEO of Wink, Inc. and president & CEO of Moore Market Intelligence, has an extensive background in the industry. She has worked tirelessly with legislators and regulators as a proponent of annuities; regularly assists the National Association of Insurance Commissioners; serves as a resource on insurance distribution, marketing, product development, and training; actively participates in the rule-making process for life insurance and annuity products; and has published 200+ articles on indexed life and/or indexed annuity products in countless industry trade journals, newspapers, and magazines.
“I am grateful to have been nominated to this position. I take it very seriously and I have many fantastic goals I wish to achieve in this capacity,” Moore says of her new role as president. “If at the end of my term, American consumers know that SAFE is an organization that they can rely on for credible, unbiased information about annuities, then I have served the organization well.”
Moore says she wants to create a robust, information-rich website for consumers to access annuity information through SAFE, and also wants to explore how using social media to spread the message about how valuable annuities can be to consumers.
“I was interested in the presidency at SAFE because getting factual information about annuities in front of consumers is something I’ve been passionate about for a very long time,” Moore says. “Representing SAFE in the infancy of the organization, and having the ability to make an early impact really spoke to me.”
She adds that raising funds will be paramount to the fledgling organization’s endeavors, and will be a major focus over the next year. Another focus will be building on the success of June being the inaugural National Annuity Awareness Month.
“I feel that there is so much more that we can do to raise awareness of annuities in the coming National Annuity Awareness Months,” Moore says. “Yes, this year’s first month was a great success. However, I can conceivably see commercials on television and advertisements in magazines about NAAM going forward. Once we have additional funding, we will have the ability to reach a much wider audience. This will be integral to growing the campaign efforts for National Annuity Awareness Month.”
Designed to provide awareness and understanding of annuities and their benefits in financial and retirement planning, activities in support of the inaugural National Annuity Awareness Month garnered nearly 20 producer-focused, educational whitepapers, three webcasts and a three-part consumer-facing article.
“National Annuity Awareness Month is a key initiative and we’re excited to support SAFE in educating Americans about the value of annuities as part of a secure retirement savings plan,” says Corey Walther, chief operating officer for Allianz Life Financial Services, LLC and SAFE board member.
New SAFE Vice President Lowell Aronoff, who is the CEO, CANNEX Financial Exchanges Limited, has devoted most of his 30-year career to understanding and facilitating the use of annuity products in retirement income portfolios. He has served on the board of NAFA and has worked on retirement income and education committees at IRI, LIMRA and RIIA. Aronoff works closely with noted academic retirement income experts, including Moshe Milevsky.
Aronoff tells Insurance Forums he decided to get involved with SAFE because he sees a crisis brewing for retirees and SAFE can help mitigate the problem.
“There are two problems that SAFE can address. The first and more commonly known one is that people are not saving enough for retirement. While this is a huge issue that SAFE can and will address, the issue that I believe I can help SAFE address is that retirees are making poor choices with the assets they have accumulated for retirement,” Aronoff says. “Once retired, the way you should manage your assets should change because the lack of a regular paycheck means that you are exposed to new risks. Your longevity is not a significant financial risk before retirement because the single most impactful thing you can do to address the risk of outliving your assets is to work longer. Inflation is not a big risk pre-retirement because most salaries are indexed at least partially to inflation. Sequence of return (the timing of the fluctuations of the market) does not have an impact before you start decumulating. It is important for retirees to understand how allocating their assets between different products (managed funds, annuities, guaranteed living benefits, …) can mitigate these risks and therefore lead to a more optimal and less financially stressful retirements for most American retirees.”
If SAFE is successful, Aronoff says, it will provide an unbiased free source of financial education that has the potential to improve the financial outcomes of millions of retirees.
“Sheryl and Lowell are perfectly suited to drive SAFE’s mission to the next level,” says Mark T. Stone, outgoing SAFE President. “Collectively, Ms. Moore and Mr. Aronoff will ensure SAFE’s mission to carefully communicate the role of annuities in insuring retirement saving and retirement income by providing accurate, easy-to-understand information about annuities to the American public.”
In addition to the distinguished additions of Moore and Aronoff, SAFE’s current Board roster includes:
• Jeremy Alexander, President, Beacon Research
• Pam Heinrich, Esq., Heinrich Law, SAFE Secretary
• Phil Holstein, Principal, Holstein Financial
• Rich Lane, National Director of Sales and Marketing, The Standard
• Rod Mims, Senior Vice President and National Sales Manager, Athene Annuity
• Gregory L. Mitchell, Senior Vice President & Actuary, Guggenheim Insurance Services, SAFE Treasurer
• Kim O’Brien, President & CEO, National Association for Fixed Annuities, (NAFA), SAFE Acting Executive Director
• Patrick M. Simasko Elder Law Attorney, Simasko Law
• Mark T. Stone, Principal & Chief Marketing Strategist, Insurance Insight Group
• Richard J. Tucker, Vice President – Sales & Marketing, Canada Life Reinsurance
• Corey Walther, Chief Operating Officer, Allianz Life Financial Services
Formed in 2012, SAFE was recently granted tax-exempt status as a charitable organization dedicated to educational purposes under Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. SAFE serves as a resource for consumers to learn in a fact-based environment safe from sales pressure and bias about annuity products and their role in insuring retirement savings and retirement income. Those wishing to donate to SAFE may do so via the donor page at annuityed.org.
Among the stated goals of SAFE include:
• Provide a forum for the exchange of information among all persons having an interest in annuity products.
• Provide opportunities for education, advancement, and improvement of all aspects of annuities through meetings, seminars, communications, publications, and other programs and activities.
• Provide insurance and financial services professionals, consumers, and the media with an accurate, comprehensive, and unbiased source of information about annuities to help them make informed decisions.
• Be a solid educational resource for insurance and financial professionals and their clients.
• Communicate important facts about all annuity products in order to limit the amount of misinformation each audience (professionals, consumers, and the media) is exposed to.
More about SAFE: Follow SAFE’s activities on Twitter via @AnnuityEd, or visit AnnuityEd.org to listen to educational podcasts, learn the basics about annuities, utilize a variety of interactive financial calculators, and give SAFE’s Wealth & Income Planner tool a test drive