Wherever They Call Home

Jun 21, 2023

What do Jason Sudeikis, Paul Rudd and Janelle Monae share?

  • They each grew up in Kansas.
  • They each moved away and achieved entertainment superstardom.
  • They each have family still living in The Sunflower State.

Now their families have something else in common — along with every Kansas family from Leavenworth (Melissa Etheridge’s hometown) to Topeka (Annette Bening’s birthplace).

Kansas recently adopted a rule promoted by Insurance Commissioner Vicki Schmidt 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 state’s nearly 3 million residents. 

The rule 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 Kansas residents will be in a strong position to achieve financial security and prosperity throughout retirement.

Kansas joins 38 other states to adopt similar laws or rules. Residents in nearly 80% 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 remaining 11 states lacking this practical consumer protection should join the vast majority. Then all Americans looking to protect their family’s financial future would benefit from a best interest standard of care, wherever they call home.

Alex Young

Alex Young is Legislative Director, State Relations at the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI). He is responsible for state legislative and regulatory affairs in Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. He joined ACLI in 2018.

Brad Noller

NAIFA-Kansas President Brad Noller is from Topeka, Ks.