Message from the President

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Typically, we use this space to provide the outlook for fixed annuities. However, since this is our membership renewal season, we will take the opportunity to provide a look back at the association’s successful 2012.

We treat NAFA membership dues with great care and conservation to ensure that the majority of dollars are spent on our mission: promoting and protecting fixed annuities.  Because of the strong leadership of John Orrell, chair of the Government Relations Committee; Heather Gierstorf, chair of the Education Committee; Margo Thompson, chair of the Insurance Marketing Advisory Committee (IMAC) and Dwight Carter, chair of the Membership Committee; 2012 was a very productive and successful year for NAFA and fixed annuities. We accomplished a great deal, while spending just under 15 cents of every dollar on overhead and supplies. Here are some of the highlights of what our membership dues accomplished for fixed annuities in 2012.

NAFA made great strides in influencing and educating policy makers both in Washington, D.C. and in individual States.  In 2012, we hired a designated legal counsel to monitor and influence state regulation and legislation. Pam Heinrich, Esq., NAFA’s outside legal counsel, spent many hours with state policymakers to ensure consistency and uniformity, as states adopted the NAIC Suitability Model – paying particular attention to the specific requirements and timing of compliance for our members. Many of our members turned to us to seek clarification for their own compliance guidelines, and in many cases, we pursued corrective action or made changes when the regulation was unintentionally altered in the process of interpreting legislation, adopting regulation and issuing guidelines. NAFA’s Annuity State Watch is our monthly publication of state issues affecting fixed annuities, and when we were unable to influence change or modify the outcome, with our partners at CQ Roll Call, we were able to keep our members informed and prepared to address the regulation and be compliant.  NAFA is very pleased to announce the addition of our small business legal assistance for our members at a discounted rate. We will provide more details right after the New Year, but stay tuned in for this exciting opportunity.

NAFA also became an intregal part of the NAIC process and was asked by Working Group chairs to assist with the drafting of the NAIC disclosure model for illustrating fixed annuities and updating the NAIC Buyer’s Guide for Fixed Annuities. NAFA led the way to ensure that fixed annuities and, in particular, fixed indexed annuities had a level playing field with other financial products. NAFA was the only national trade association asked to assist the State of Iowa with their bulletin outlining permitted and not permitted activities for insurance-only and investment-only licensees. We will work closely with the new commissioner in Iowa and the NAIC to encourage use of the bulletin across the nation.

On the federal front, NAFA’s DC lobbyist CapCity Advocates set up meetings that NAFA attended with over 100 Congressional representatives to help spread the fixed annuity story and the need to expose fixed annuities in the retirement planning process. Also, CapCity was instrumental in obtaining meetings with the Treasury, the IRS, and the DOL to help form a positive fixed annuity outcome for likely changes to ERISA and tax policy on required minimum distributions. In 2013, we anticipate proposed rules from these agencies — and possibly the SEC — as well as tax reform legislation from Congress that might have significant impact on our industry. It will be critical for us to continue our strong advocacy about the benefits of fixed annuities and the strength of the NAIC Suitability Standard. NAFA’s Board of Directors approved the development of a political action committee called the NAFA PAC, and we will be providing members with more information in 2013.

NAFA will be releasing its Producer Tool Box filled with sales materials to help producers position and sell fixed annuities. The Tool Box will be customized for NAFA Premier Partners so that they may use it as an additional value-add to further their own competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Finally, NAFA continues our relationships with fellow-trade associations to best leverage our annuity story and utilize their constituents in pushing the message about fixed annuities to more and more members of our financial and retirement planning community. As the founder of SAFE, the Society for Annuity Facts and Education, NAFA will continue to develop and promote the Society and its website,, to partnering trades and other annuity market participants to expand the Society’s influence with the public and promote better awareness and understanding of the force of annuities in retirement planning. Check out for consumer-friendly, credible and unbiased information about fixed annuities. NAFA provides content and tools that consumers and members of the media can use to better understand and discuss fixed annuities. We are very excited about 2013, and we thank all of our members for their continued support of and influence on the fixed annuity marketplace. NAFA sends its best wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year and hopes all enjoyed a happy holiday.

Kim O’Brien

President and CEO, NAFA


- 2013 Board of Directors -


Bob Phillips – Chair – 2013
(515) 309-1968 (w) (952) 738-2664 (c)
President/Managing Director, Alternative Brokerage

Tony Compton – 2015
(800) 407-4137 (w)
Chief Technology Officer, Gradient Financial Group

Chip Anderson – Vice Chair – 2014
(800) 992-2642 (w) (913) 530-2465 (c) (Janet)
Senior Vice President/Annuity Sales, Creative Marketing

Michael H. Ebmeier – 2014
(317) 223-2725 (w) (410) 336-4086 (c) (Lisa)
Senior Vice President of Annuity Distribution, Forethought

S. Christopher Johnson – Secretary – 2015
(512) 719-2206 (w) (512) 944-5094 (c)
(800) 760-3434 ext. 358 (Shelley) (Shelley)
Senior Vice President/Chief Marketing Officer,
National Western

Kris Kattmann – 2014
(336) 691-3041 (w)
(860) 466-1573 (Marie) (Marie)
Vice President/Head of Business Risk Management, Lincoln National

Nathan Zuidema – Treasurer – 2016
(888) 849-8096 (w) (612) 965-5752 (c) (Kristen)
President/COO, Imeriti Financial Network

Danette Kennedy – 2013
(515) 697-6826 (w) (515) 422-3518 (c)
Vice President of Training, AVIVA

Dwight Carter – Membership Chair – 2013
(800) 834-7646 (w) (919) 210-7364 (c)
(800) 834-7646 ext. 14 (Sherry) (Sherry)
President/Principal Owner, Financial Security Associates

Brian Mann – 2014
(888) 251-5525 ext. 102 (w) (562) 254-1656 (c)
(888) 251-5525 ext. 104 (Heather) (Heather)
Senior Vice President/Annuities and RIA Divisions, Partners Advantage

Gayle Allen – 2015
(515) 273-0829 (w)
Assistant Vice President, North American Co. for Life & Health Insurance

Jim Maietta – 2015
(763) 765-5895 (w) (612) 386-0772 (c)
(763) 765-5277 (w) (612) 208-4170 (c) (Pam) (Pam)
Senior Vice President/District Director, Allianz Life

Lowell Aronoff – 2013
(416) 926-0882 (w)
CEO, Cannex Financial Exchanges Limited

Jeanne Taylor – 2014
(515) 226-5160 (w) (515) 240-7453 (c)
(515) 226-6814 (Beth) (Beth)
Annuity Sales Vice President, EquiTrust Life Insurance Company

Janet Terpening – Recorder
(913) 814-0510 ext. 483 (w) (816) 529-7064 (c)
Project Manager, Creative Marketing

Brian Williams – 2015
(704) 895-5606 (w)
Chief Operating Officer, FIG Marketing


Kim O’Brien is NAFA President & CEO. NAFA membership represents over 85% of all premium for fixed indexed, declared rate and income annuities written through the independent distribution system. Kim has over 30 years of experience in the insurance industry beginning as in 1981 as office manager for an insurance agency. In 2002 Kim developed and ran her own marketing organization and received the 2002 Entrepreneur Award from Sun Life. In between, Kim worked as a marketing executive for major insurance companies and was responsible for their annuity and term life insurance product line development, marketing, and training processes. In 1993, Kim served as interim deputy director of the Wisconsin Department of Insurance under Governor Tommy Thomson and served Governor Thompson until a permanent replacement could be found. In July 1992, Kim was the first women in Wisconsin to pass the CFP exam established in 1991 by the CFP Board as a single comprehensive examination modeled after the licensing examinations given to attorneys or Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). Kim O'Brien received her BA from Ripon College, her MFA from the University of Northern Colorado, and an MBA with an emphasis in Economics from Edgewood College, Madison, Wisconsin. In 2008, Kim was accepted into the Juris Doctorate program at the William H. Taft Law School and completed her first year and passed the preliminary California Bar as required before continuing her degree. She has recently re-instituted her studies to begin this summer after a hiatus due to her NAFA workload. As an avid musical theater fan and dancer, Kim has directed or choreographed over 60 shows in Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin. She lives with her husband and college sweetheart of 39 years, Kelly, in Phoenix nestled in the Thunderbird Conservatory she enjoys hiking the mountains with their Irish setters.

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