Another Gem For Idaho

Mar 18, 2021

Idaho is on a roll – and we’re not talking about potatoes.

It was the fastest growing state in the nation last year. It was recently ranked as the seventh-best state for retirees.

And now the Gem State has become even more alluring to prospective residents, thanks to a new consumer protection law signed by Idaho Governor Brad Little.

The legislation ensures that financial professionals must act in the best interest of Idaho savers. The law, which was strongly supported by Idaho Insurance Department Director Dean Cameron, enhances the standards financial professionals must follow while ensuring that individual savers maintain access to, and information about, annuities.

This is a significant victory for consumer protection and for all Idaho citizens planning for retirement.

The law mirrors the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIC) updated model regulation on annuity transactions. Idaho is now the eighth state with a new law or rule that incorporates the NAIC model’s enhanced protections. Several other states are considering comparable measures to protect their residents.

These state actions also closely align with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation Best Interest, which took effect last year. 

With these stronger consumer protections, savers can be confident that financial professionals must act in the consumer’s best interest when offering recommendations about retirement savings products, including annuities. The U.S. Congress reaffirmed 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 maintain access to sensible and understandable financial information.   

Access to financial information is especially important these days. Because of the economic turmoil prompted by COVID-19, many Americans’ concerns about their retirement security have intensified. Their worries can be lessened through financial security tools, including annuities, the only financial product in the marketplace that can provide guaranteed lifetime income. 

More states should follow the lead of Idaho with this consumer protection. Then more consumers will benefit from a best interest standard of care, regardless of where they live.

(Guy Stubbs is the President of NAIFA-ID. He owns Hall & Associations, located in Jerome, Idaho, and offers securities and investment advice through Calton Financial Services.)

John Mangan

John Mangan is Vice President & Deputy, State Relations at the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI). He is responsible for state legislative and regulatory affairs in California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. He also leads the ACLI’s state advocacy team on the issues of state-run retirement plans and independent contractor proposals.