Archives for April, 2014

Sy Sternberg Named 2014 John Newton Russell Memorial Award Winner

April 30th, 2014, One Comment ».

The life insurance industry’s highest honor will be presented at the NAIFA Career Conference and Annual Meeting in September as a tribute to his more than 40 years of service and contributions to the industry.

sternbergsyThe National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors is proud to announce Sy Sternberg, former CEO and Chairman of the Board of New York Life Insurance Company, as the recipient of the 73rd annual John Newton Russell Memorial Award. The award is the highest honor accorded by the insurance industry to a living individual who has rendered outstanding services to the institution of life insurance.

Mr. Sternberg will receive the award September 7, 2014, at the NAIFA Career Conference and Annual Meeting in San Diego.

“Sy Sternberg has done as much to advance the institution of life insurance and the agency  distribution system as anyone in the industry,” said Terry K. Headley, LUTCF, LIC, FSS, chair of the 2014 John Newton Russell Award Committee. “The selection committee considered a very strong slate of nominees this year, but ultimately we were honored to unanimously select Sy as the 2014 John Newton Russell Memorial Award recipient.”

As chairman and CEO, Mr. Sternberg successfully steered New York Life to focus on its core values as a provider of life insurance and annuities. Under his leadership, New York Life became the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States and one of the largest life insurance companies in the world. He provided strong support for insurance agents at New York Life, instituting valuable training courses and resources for the company’s field force and promoting improved communication between upper management and agents.

A strong advocate for the life insurance industry, Mr. Sternberg played a key role in shaping industry positions on such issues as regulatory reform and tax reform. His chairmanship of the American Council of Life Insurers encompassed the events of 9/11, upon which he encouraged insurance companies to pay claims quickly and without bureaucratic delays.

Mr. Sternberg has been a strong supporter of industry organizations, including the LIFE Foundation, AALU, GAMA, MDRT and NAIFA. Under his leadership, New York Life was the first company to adopt the GAMA/MDRT mentoring program. He developed and implemented several creative and successful programs to increase NAIFA membership among New York Life agents.

“Sy is known as a great friend to insurance agents and a vigilant advocate for the life insurance industry,” said NAIFA President John F. Nichols, MSM, CLU. “As well as anyone, he understands the important role agents play in providing financial security for 75 million American families. For his significant industry contributions and accomplishments, Sy is a well-deserved recipient of the 2014 John Newton Russell Memorial Award.”

John Henry Russell created the John Newton Russell Award in 1942 as a tribute to his father, an influential leader in the life insurance industry and an early advocate of agent education. John Newton Russell served as NAIFA (then NALU) president from 1916 to 1917 and was a contributing founder of LIMRA International, The American College and the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation.

“I know several recipients of the John Newton Russell Award and never considered the possibility that I would be asked to join this prestigious group,” Mr. Sternberg said. “The JNR Award is a truly unique and very special recognition because it’s awarded by a committee representing every facet of the industry − from agents to life insurance companies, from educational organizations to research. All I can say, is thank you for this great honor.”

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Millennials Go Old School

April 29th, 2014, Comments Off on Millennials Go Old School.

It’s not just beards, butchers and bicycles that Millennials are bringing back. The youngest adults in America, aged 18-29, are also showing signs that they’re old souls in the way they manage their money.

This finding was uncovered through the 2014 Planning and Progress Study, an annual research project commissioned by Northwestern Mutual. The study explores Americans’ attitudes and behaviors toward finances and planning.

According to the research, Millennials recognize the importance of saving and investing and tend to be more proactive about planning than their older counterparts.

The study brought to the surface distinct attitudes and behaviors that Millennials have toward money. These include:

  • They’re not swinging for the fences. Only 14% say that when it comes to saving and investing, they are aiming high and pursuing as much growth as possible
  • They’re willing to be patient. 30% favor “slow and steady” as their financial-planning approach, while another 30% prefer to be more cautious but feel they have a lot of catching up to do
  • They’re the most disciplined generation since their grandparents. In fact, they’re even more disciplined than their grandparents. Even though they’re just starting out, 62% say they are “highly disciplined” or “disciplined” financial planners, compared to 54% for adults aged 60+
  • They’re humble. Despite their focus on planning, 68% believe there is room for improvement in how they manage their money

“While not quite putting money in the mattress, Gen Y definitely takes a more retro approach to how they handle their finances,” says Greg Oberland, Northwestern Mutual executive vice president. “I’m guessing they’re making a lot of grandparents very proud.”

Although they may be ahead of the curve in making financial planning a priority, the large majority of Millennials recognize they can do even better.

  • As mentioned earlier, though more than two thirds (68%) say there is room for improvement, they are most likely to say they’re uncertain of where to find help (28%) .
  • Only one in eight 18-29 year olds (13%) have a financial advisor.

“Many Millennials have fairly straightforward finances at this stage in their lives, so it makes sense that only a small percentage work with advisors,” says Oberland. “But clearly, the appetite and attitudes make for great opportunity. For advisors, the message is clear – if they can meet in kind the interest, discipline and humility of Millennials, they may very well have relationships for a lifetime.”

The study was conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Northwestern Mutual, and included 2,092 American adults aged 18 or older who participated in an online survey between January 21 and February 5, 2014.


By Ayo Mseka

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