Building Financial Security and Upward Mobility

Aug 26, 2020

As America faces a pivotal moment to address systemic racism, the life insurance industry stands committed and ready to lead.

Last week, I had the opportunity to speak with President and CEO George Nichols III of the American College of Financial Services. Nichols, a Kentucky native, became his state’s first Black American insurance commissioner in 1995. In December 1999, he was elected the first Black American president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Before joining the American College in November 2018, he served 17 years as an executive at New York Life.

We talked about current frustrations in the Black community and what concerns are fueling the societal crisis. Nichols described that injustices against Black Americans are not new. In fact, these incidents happen all the time – just out of the public eye.

“This is not George Floyd being a martyr,” Nichols said. “This is a situation being a moment. We, as a country, can do better.”

We also discussed financial and economic inequalities faced by Black Americans and what the life insurance industry can do for wealth generation and access to family financial security.

Nichols said now is the moment for the life insurance and financial services industries to come together and do things differently.

The American College of Financial Services launched its Four Steps Forward initiative that focuses on economic and financial issues of marginalized communities, starting with Black America.

“Let’s find a vaccine that creates upward mobility and wealth creation,” Nichols said.

For leaders in the life insurance community, Nichols says this is not a new concept.

“This is actually just rethinking how (you’ve) been successful to build a successful company that you have today and focus in on the Black community because it is going to be part of your success in the future,” he said.

ACLI is committed to taking meaningful actions toward identifying and introducing new policies and practices that support wealth generation for those who have been left out. At the same time, the life insurance industry is #MeetingtheMoment by investing in communities from coast-to-coast and striving to empower all Americans in the process.

When we say we are committed to providing financial security to all Americans, we mean it.

You can view the recording of the conversation here or watch it below.

Susan K. Neely

Susan K. Neely is the President and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), the nation’s leading trade association determined to help families live better lives by achieving financial security and certainty. As president and CEO, Neely drives public policy and advocacy on behalf of ACLI’s member companies that represent 93 percent of industry assets and serve 90 million families.