Good Fortune

Jun 6, 2023

Oregonians are fortunate. We’ve got 362 miles of coastline with public access to the Pacific Ocean. We’ve got majestic Mount Hood, which boasts the only year-round lift-served skiing in the United States. We’ve also got Crater Lake National Park, home of the deepest and probably bluest lake in the country.

Now we’ve got something else to feel good about.

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek recently signed a bill sponsored by Senator Janeen Sollman that incorporates the enhanced consumer protections in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) updated model regulation on annuity transactions. This new law is great news for Oregon’s 4.2 million residents. 

The law enhances the standards financial professionals must follow and protects consumers 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 Oregon residents will be in a strong position to achieve financial security and prosperity throughout retirement.

Oregon joins 37 other states to adopt similar laws or rules. Residents in more than 3/4 of the United States now benefit from a best interest standard of care. Building on this momentum, many additional states are considering similar measures to protect their citizens.

The actions 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 curtail 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 can rest assured that financial professionals must act in the consumer’s best interest when offering recommendations about annuities. These protections safeguard consumers while also making certain that middle- and working-class families will retain access to financial information. The U.S. Congress reaffirmed the importance 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 12 states lacking this practical consumer protection should follow Oregon’s lead. Then more Americans looking to protect their family’s financial future would benefit from a best interest standard of care, wherever they are fortunate enough to call home.

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.

Kym Housley

NAIFA-Oregon President Kym Housley is from Junction City, Ore.