Did You Hear The News?

May 26, 2023

Did you hear the news coming out of Florida?

No, this news has nothing to do with an anaconda in the Everglades. And it didn’t originate anywhere near an alligator sauntering across a club golf course. 

This news came out of Tallahassee — and it will help millions of Floridians from Kissimmee to Key West.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed into law a bill that incorporates the enhanced consumer protections in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) updated model regulation on annuity transactions. This is great news for the 22 million residents of the Sunshine State. 

The law enhances the standards financial professionals must follow while ensuring that individual savers maintain access to, and information about, annuities, the only financial product in the marketplace that can provide guaranteed income for life. Thanks to this new consumer protection rule, all Floridians will be in a strong position to achieve financial security and prosperity throughout retirement.

Florida joins 36 other states that have adopted similar laws or rules. Residents in nearly 3/4 of the United States now benefit from a best interest standard of care. Building on this momentum, additional states are considering similar measures to protect their citizens.

The moves in the states closely align with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation Best Interest. And, unlike a fiduciary-only approach, these measures ensure savers, particularly financially vulnerable lower and middle-income Americans, can access information about different choices for long-term security throughout retirement. According to a recent study, a fiduciary-only approach would restrict access to financial inclusion for 10 million households. A new survey shows that retirement savers overwhelmingly want the option to work with any type of financial professional who is offering products and services that meet their needs.

With these enhanced state and federal consumer protections, savers are assured that financial professionals must act in the consumer’s best interest when offering recommendations about annuities. These measures protect consumers while also making certain that middle- and working-class families will retain access to financial information. The U.S. Congress reaffirmed the significance of lifetime income when it passed legislation in 2019 and 2022 to make it easier for employers to include annuities in workplace retirement plans and simpler for savers and retirees to utilize annuities that fit their needs. 

The unlucky 13 states lacking this practical consumer protection should follow Florida’s lead. Then more Americans looking to protect their family’s financial future would benefit from a best interest standard of care, wherever they live.

Curt Leonard

Curt Leonard is Regional Vice President, State Relations at the American Council of Life Insurers. He is responsible for state legislative and regulatory affairs in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina. He also leads ACLI’s state advocacy team on issues of genetic science and long term care insurance. He joined ACLI in 2003.

Jeff Chernoff

NAIFA-Florida President Jeff Chernoff is from Tampa, Fla.