Message from the President: 2013 Annuity Leadership Forum a Success

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Annuity Industry Leaders Met in D.C. to Address Compliance, Regulatory and Government Relations Issues

American author, Margaret Mead, once wrote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” I think back on that quote as I reflect on this year’s NAFA Annuity Leadership Forum which was held June 12 through 14 at the Westin Arlington Gateway in Virginia. This gathering of insurance carriers and independent marketing organizations provides an important opportunity to speak to our members of congress and the senate exclusively on the merits of fixed annuities and doesn’t quite honestly happen often enough.

Our lobbyists, CapCity Advocates, were able to set close to 50 appointments for our attendees. Participants spoke directly to their representatives or their legislative directors and covered topics including the fiduciary standard, guaranteed income using fixed annuities, and protecting tax deferral. Our general sessions included topics covering the tax outlook for annuities, source of funds, the ACLI covered a wide range of legislative concerns, a legal outlook on annuities and special closing keynotes by NAFA Co-Founder Joan Boros and by Preston Rutledge of the Senate Finance Committee working in Senator Hatch’s office. Committed citizens trying to make a change for our industry. We thank them all.

Also, while we’re on the topic of change, I’d like to introduce a new initiative from NAFA entitled UPAS: the “Uniform Processing Administrative Standards.”

The goal of this exciting and forward-looking NAFA working group is to promote, foster and enable the consistent sharing of all data in a standard format through a single portal. This standardized and uniform sharing of data between carriers and marketing organizations so that business processes are streamlined and resources are more effectively deployed. The program features both processing and administration goals, including:

  • Facilitating consistent licensing and appointment standards for annuity professionals and distributors
  • Entering new business information into a uniform system using a single data entry standard
  • Keeping an updated and maintained new-business information process for inforce status, policy info, agency appointments and terminations.

Look for more information from NAFA about UPAS as it truly is a huge opportunity for us, to come together to create a uniform standard for how data will travel from marketers to the carriers and back, but most importantly to make sure that it is done accurately and efficiently.

More information about UPAS and the programs fostered by NAFA will be addressed at the Fall IMO summit in Aspen, Colorado. We are pleased to mention that among this issue’s compelling array of content, you will find more information about the Aspen event. You can also learn more by visiting

As you can see we are Mead’s small group committed to change. A group of thoughtful, committed, insurance-focused citizens working on changes that everyone in the insurance industry can benefit from. Please join us as we continue to fight those that want to change our world not to help consumers, but to help themselves. We are collaborating with those who want to make positive changes that DO benefit consumers and their access to fixed annuities.

With that, I will leave you with just one question. What role will you play in the future of our industry?

 O’Brien Celebrates 10 Years of Leadership

 Kim O’Brien never imagined 10 years ago she’d be leading NAFA, the National Association for Fixed Annuities, to the levels the organization has currently reached. This dedicated president and CEO has been a major advocate of fixed annuities in a variety of venues, using her 30 years of experience in the industry to educate regulators, legislators, journalists, and industry personnel.

O’Brien’s experience started 30 years ago, when, in 1981, she began as an office manager at an insurance agency. She then went to work as a marketing executive for several major insurance companies, where she was responsible for their annuity and term life insurance product line development, marketing, and training processes.  Twenty-one years later, she created and ran her own marketing organization, which earned her the 2002 Entrepreneur Award from Sun Life.

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 a preliminary California Bar as required to complete her degree.  She has temporarily suspended her studies due to the workload at NAFA and may resume when time permits.  She lives with her husband and college sweetheart of 39 years, Kelly, in Milwaukee along the shores of Lake Michigan where she enjoys walking with her two Irish setters.

NAFA, the National Association for Fixed Annuities, is an advocacy trade association exclusively dedicated to fixed annuities by educating regulators, legislators, journalists, and industry personnel, about the value of fixed annuities and their benefits to consumers.  NAFA’s membership represents every aspect of the fixed annuity marketplace covering 84% of fixed annuities sold by independent agents, advisors and brokers.  NAFA was founded in 1998.

NAFA, the National Association for Fixed Annuities, is a national trade association exclusively dedicated to promoting the awareness and understanding of fixed annuities. NAFA is the only association whose sole purpose is advocating for the fixed annuity product.

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