NAOSA Gold Standards of Professional Practice
Insurance and Investments
Each member profession of the National Association of Senior Advocates has a standard of guidelines that our members must abide. We call these the NAOSA Gold Standards of Professional Practice.
Insurance and Investments
The NAOSA Gold Standards of Professional Practice for investment and life insurance agents/brokers requires that members, as stated previously, act in utmost good faith when working with clients. Members may only offer products and services that the NAOSA member reasonably believes to be in the best interest of the client.
Although brokers and agents are obligated to rules and regulations established by both the federal and state governments, there are still many gray areas that have not been addressed. The National Association of Senior Advocates member professionals have identified several business practices and/or products that require a deeper consumer education and at times, elimination from consideration. The following NAOSA Gold Standards of Professional Practice™ are requirements of NAOSA members and are not intended to replace or interfere with existing federal or individual state rules and regulations already in place.
NAOSA Gold Standards of Professional Practice™
When selling annuities with a surrender period of over 7 years, agents will perform a thorough cost analysis with similar annuities within the agent’s portfolio that offer surrender periods of seven (7) years and under. The member agent will only recommend an annuity with over a seven-year surrender period if the annuity has a higher net rate of return than annuity with lower surrender periods.
NAOSA members will be particularly vigilant when selling “bonus annuities”, an annuity offering an upfront interest rate bonus to the client. At times, a bonus annuity will have higher internal expenses and longer surrender periods, with the final outcome being an equivalent or lower net rate of return even after the bonus money is applied. In such cases, the agent will recommend the higher net rate of return annuity, regardless of the upfront bonus.
Percent of Assets Invested: Other than annuities with the sole objective of guaranteed income, agents will not advise a client to invest more than 50% of investable assets in an annuity.
Replacement of Annuities within the Surrender Charge Period: Agents will not replace one annuity for another investment within an annuity’s surrender period unless the client has an emergency that requires a withdrawal and has exhausted all other options within their portfolio.
Replacement of Annuities outside the Surrender Charge Period: Agents will not replace one annuity for another annuity outside of an annuity’s surrender period unless the client’s investment strategy has changed or the guaranteed net rate of return on the replacement annuity is demonstrably higher.
Agents will provide full disclosure on indexed annuities. Clients must have a clear understanding in writing of the difference between Cash Value, Cash Surrender Value and The Protected or Guaranteed Value. When discussing the guaranteed growth rates, it must be disclosed that the guarantee only increases the amount available for income. The overall underlying value of the investment will only grow according to how it is invested. The client must have a clear understanding that the primary objective of indexed annuities is guaranteed income, not overall cash value available for lump sum withdrawal or to pass on to heirs. The client must also have a clear understanding of the affect withdrawals or an income stream will have on the overall cash value.
An agent will not switch a client’s mutual fund from an A share fund to a C share fund unless the total management cost to client will decrease or the client’s investment objective has changed.
An agent will clearly explain their compensation structure. Agents will not state an investment is “no-cost” when offering C shares or no-load funds that are subject to an advisory fee.
Agents will recommend life insurance on a needs basis and will recommend need over policy type. With the exception of Final Expense Policies, NAOSA members will never sell a permanent policy for a short term need.
Low or moderate income families will not be recommended a permanent policy if the policy does not cover the insured’s total needs, i.e. income replacement, mortgage pay-off, education, etc.
If the NAOSA member professional is also acting as a financial planner or investment advisor, the member professional will review all investment goals and advise accordingly. If a client has goals that would be better suited through products other than permanent life insurance, the NAOSA member professional will recommend the appropriate product.
Policy Replacement: With the exception of the following, agents will not replace an existing whole life or universal life policy for a new policy:
Are you a professional in the insurance and investment field? We welcome your constructive input to assist in the protection of all consumers. Please contact us.