The former Ohio National life insurance business will soon be known as AuguStar Life under terms of an announcement made this week by Constellation Insurance, Inc., which agreed to acquire Ohio National in 2021 and completed the transaction a year later.
In addition to the name change, the company announced this week that it will introduce a line of individual life products that will be sold through independent marketing organizations and retail agents.
Constellation is a leading insurance holding company serving consumers and small business owners in the United States and Latin America through its family of insurance companies, which collectively have over $34 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2022. Constellation’s institutional owners CDPQ and Ontario Teachers’ are two of the world’s largest long-term institutional investors.
“We are strategically committed to building AuguStar Life into an industry leader offering indexed life products through traditional direct agent distribution and independent marketing organizations,” says Anurag Chandra, Constellation Insurance founder, president and chief executive officer. “This new brand reflects the substantially stronger capital position under new ownership and signifies a modern and contemporary identity that aligns well with the multi-faceted product portfolio, technology platform and distribution transformation that is well underway.”
On July 19, Constellation further announced the entry of AuguStar Retirement into the annuity marketplace, committed to creating value for clients and forging long-term advisor relationships.
“The formation of AuguStar Retirement aligns with our enterprise growth strategy to create a market leading annuity business offering a broad array of fixed indexed annuities, multi-year guaranteed annuities, variable annuities and registered index linked annuities through institutional channels and independent marketing organizations,” Chandra said. “The newly assembled AuguStar Retirement leadership team has an exceptional business-building track record and is led by Cliff Jack, who brings more than 30 years of experience building wealth management and asset management businesses as well as leading the transformation of a nascent annuity carrier into the number-one player in the United States.”
AuguStar Retirement plans to launch several annuity products in banks, broker/dealers, and select independent marketing organizations over the next few months.
Joining Cliff Jack are several seasoned industry veterans who have all worked together for over a decade and complement AuguStar Retirement’s existing operational infrastructure in Cincinnati, led by David Marlow, vice president, operations and IT, and Kimberly Plante, vice president, general counsel. AuguStar Distributors is the newly formed sales and marketing entity with regional hubs in Denver and Nashville.
“I am thrilled to be surrounded by such an impressive team who will partner to deliver top-tier, client-focused product solutions with an industry-leading advisor service support model across banks, broker/dealers, independent marketing organizations and insurance professionals. This team has a deep understanding of all facets of an advisor’s practice and is committed to automating processes using cutting-edge technology,” Jack said. “We want to offer an exceptional experience for both the financial advisor and the consumer—one that is welcoming, fun, and inspiring. Our clients deserve to be excited about their financial decisions and put their trust in product solutions and services they can count on and, quite frankly, understand. The AuguStar Retirement brand embodies our commitment to delivering this differentiated experience.”
While the agent community figures to be guarded about the changes, given the messy end to Ohio National’s individual variable annuity business and subsequent lawsuits regarding the elimination of trailing commissions, at least one industry expert was optimistic about the changes.
“An entirely new senior management team has been tasked with creating a new legacy for this annuity issuer,” Sheryl Moore, president and CEO of Moore Market Intelligence, said in a July 19 LinkedIn post regarding the announcement. “They are people I know, and trust. I am excited to see what they do in the annuity space. There is much to overcome, but I am confident that they will prove their value in this market.”