Agent Access Magazine

We know all too well the economic horror story that unraveled in 2008—decades-old financial institutions submarined by risky investments in subprime mortgages and complicated credit-default swaps followed by the controversial $700 billion U.S. government bailout designed to keep financial markets afloat.

So what can you tell your clients when they ask about the fallout’s effects on Mutual of Omaha and their insurance policies? The headlines are dire, but Mutual of Omaha has avoided the calamity because we are a financially stable and secure company with minimal exposure to the subprime mortgage market.

That’s the message our clients need to hear, says Aaron Blaney, a senior marketing specialist with Agency Sales.

“We are in it for the long haul. We don’t have shareholders we have to answer to and our policyholders are our owners, so we can take a prudent, long-term approach,” Blaney says. 

Mutual agents can even find new selling opportunities amid the wreckage, even in the face of sticky compliance issues that prohibit producers from bad-mouthing struggling companies and that require every attempt to conduct the necessary due diligence.
With American International Group (AIG), for example, Mutual agents have been fielding questions about customers looking to convert annuities, which provide a guaranteed stream of income apart from the stock market’s current high volatility.
One option is to talk to such potential customers about Mutual’s new Living Care Annuity, which is designed for investors seeking to protect their retirement assets from the risk of needing long-term care, but who do not want to purchase a stand-alone long-term care policy.

“Our Living Care and other annuities are a great solution for people who are afraid of the markets but still need a place to put their money,” Blaney says.

Selling AccumUL insurance also can be profitable in this economy, says Jim Armstrong, regional sales manager, because it’s a “safe place to put money” that helps clients accumulate wealth as stocks move toward bull market territory.

“It’s as good a time as any to sell this product,” Armstrong says. “The real risk is not having life insurance during these economic times. It’s a good place to make up for money lost in stocks that loved ones may have been counting on at one’s death.”

Agents can mail clients a letter about our financial strength that was made available in an Oct. 15 e-mail sent to Agency managers and top-level IDN marketers. The letter will help explain Mutual of Omaha’s financial strength and reassure clients that Mutual is the right choice.

Mutual’s strength in these days of financial unrest has been recognized in the business media. In its Oct. 13 issue, Forbes magazine listed Mutual as one of five insurance companies with strong balance sheets and ratings. “Mutually owned insurers,” the magazine reported, “tend to have the best balance sheets.”

And, of course, agents can always sell clients on Mutual’s long demonstrated financial strength:

  • Our consistent high marks from leading rating agencies such as A.M. Best, which rates Mutual’s financial strength at A+ (Superior), the second highest of its 16 ratings
  • Mutual closed 2007 in the strongest financial position in our history, with record gains in key financial measures and a record surplus that represents security for our customers
  • The vast majority of Mutual’s investment portfolios are in bonds with high-quality credit ratings. More than 95 percent of these bonds are in the highest bond quality classifications 

Sell Mutual’s considerable strengths, Blaney says, and clients will realize they have a port in today’s stormy financial seas.

This article was published in the December 2008 edition of Agent Access magazine, an internal Mutual of Omaha publication. The article is not intended for reproduction in any form.