April 18, 2008 10:10 ET

IMSA, Ethical Standards Organization, Responds to Consumer Concerns About Unethical Annuities Sales Practices

BETHESDA, MD--(Marketwire - April 18, 2008) - The Insurance Marketplace Standards Association (IMSA), whose qualified companies represent the industry's benchmark of excellence in ethical business practices regarding the advertising, sales, and service of annuities and other life insurance products, maintains established criteria to guard against unacceptable sales tactics.

The improper annuities practices highlighted in recent news reports are 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 throughout the sales process.

While ethical sales to seniors are of current concern, IMSA-qualified companies adhere to high, verifiable standards for all consumers, who, regardless of age, deserve to be treated fairly.

A 2006 independent study by Georgia State University reported that IMSA-qualified companies have significantly fewer complaints and lower policy lapse rates than non-member companies. They also report higher financial ratings and better economic performance for the companies that attain IMSA certification.

"IMSA companies continue to set the bar higher 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 protect consumers who invest their trust in the life and annuities 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 organization for the life insurance, annuity and long-term care insurance marketplace for individually sold products. Qualified companies commit to maintaining high ethical 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