June 15, 2010 16:53 ET

Annuities Ethics Watchdog Goes on the Record at Tomorrow's Senate Hearing

BETHESDA, MD--(Marketwire - June 15, 2010) -  Suitable sales of annuity products to consumers is of paramount concern to the life insurance industry's self-regulatory organization and ethics watchdog. The Insurance Marketplace Standards Association (IMSA), which certifies companies that demonstrate ethical business practices regarding the advertising, sales, and service of annuities and other life insurance products, maintains established criteria to guard against the kind of unacceptable sales tactics portrayed on the June 11th episode of "Inside Edition." 

IMSA has also provided written testimony for tomorrow's U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing titled "The Retirement Challenge - Making Savings Last a Lifetime."

To advance understanding of suitable annuity market conduct and evolving regulation, AARP and The Insurance Marketplace Standards Association (IMSA) convened a Summit Meeting in Washington, D.C. on June 10th titled Retirement Security in a Regulated Marketplace: Annuities in 2010 and Beyond. Representatives of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury joined state regulators, consumer advocates, life insurance companies, and those who sell and distribute annuity products to address suitability issues, consumer protection challenges and the future of annuities regulation.

Inside Edition's segment on improper annuity sales practices to seniors is not consistent with the approaches taken by IMSA-qualified companies, a select group of insurance carriers who have gained IMSA membership and earned consumer trust by demonstrating their commitment to honesty, integrity and ethics at all stages of the sales and policy service cycles.

"IMSA companies continue to set the bar high in how they treat their customers, as they abide by rigorous standards regarding annuities in all 50 states," said IMSA CEO Brian Atchinson. "IMSA leads this effort to ultimately protect the consumer who invests his or her trust and financial well-being in the life industry."

Since 2006, IMSA-qualified companies that sell Fixed Indexed Annuities have also adhered to specific standards regarding the suitability of all sales, consumer disclosure and agent training. These standards are incorporated into the extensive IMSA program requiring a company to establish and maintain a rigorous infrastructure for managing compliance throughout its organization.

IMSA is the premier standards-setting and compliance solutions organization for the life insurance, annuity and long-term care insurance marketplace for individually sold products. Qualified companies commit to maintaining high ethical market conduct standards and to being fair, honest, and open in the way they advertise, sell and service their products. For more information and a list of IMSA-qualified companies, visit

Contact Information

  • For information, contact:
    Jennifer Kalita