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    Sell an annuity, go to prison

    That’s what happened to an insurance agent in California recently.  There have been dozens of articles about this case recently, including THIS ONE from the March 18 Wall Street Journal.  The agent was convicted of selling a complex annuity to an 83-year-old woman who had shown signs of dementia.  And the shockwaves are reverberating through the agent and insurer community.  The bottom line for fraternals is that you – and your field force – need to make sure your products match members’ needs.  Annuity suitability regulation is one of the hottest topics at meetings of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), and individual state regulators are establishing suitability rules that impose stiff penalties – including jail time – for those that violate the law.  Want more information on annuity suitability laws in the states in which you operate? Send me an email at jannotti@fraternalalliance.org and we’ll get you what you need.

    A “Must Read” for Every Fraternal Executive…

    I just finished reading You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church…and Rethinking Faith and would advise everyone with an interest in revitalizing the fraternal business model to pick up this book today.  Written by David Kinnaman, a pastor’s son and professional researcher, You Lost Me “shows pastors, church leaders, and parents how we have failed to equip young people to live ‘in but not of’ the world and how this has serious long-term consequences.  More importantly, Kinnaman offers ideas on how to help young people develop and maintain a vibrant faith that they can embrace over a lifetime.”  Because most fraternals are faith-based (even those societies not tied to a particular denomination are composed of members who also belong to a religious community), you can substitute the word “fraternal” for “church” or “organized religion” throughout the book and learn the same lessons.  The parallels are striking.  Seriously, read this book – today.  You’ll put some of the ideas to work in your society (and facilitate opportunities for all your members – young and old – to put their faith to work) tomorrow.

    The Best Advice I Ever Received…

    OK, I’ve been writing about serious topics over the past few weeks, but have not seen much in the way of your comments posted in response to them.  I’ve come to realize that the blogs that generate the most interaction are those that are…personal.  So in between writing on important issues like solvency, relevance, and governance, I’m going to try to include items that elicit some feedback from you folks.  Let’s start with this question: What’s the best advice you ever received? Here’s my short list of words of wisdom (and the source):

    • “Make yourself indispensible.”  (my dad)
    • “Walk in like you own the place.”  (my mom)
    • “If you meet three jerks in one day, take a look in the mirror; you may find that the real jerk is looking back at you.”  (a mentor)

    Now it’s your turn.  Post the best advice you ever received and let’s see if it can inspire others…

    17 Responses

    1. My Dad’s most notable advice was the same as your Dad’s!
      My Mom had two. One was about money: “Remember, you can only spend it once” The second one was about dress: “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”

    2. From my dad: People only care about your potential so long. Then they want to see results.
      From my mom: If you’re going to make a mistake, make it big. (In other words, don’t live small.)

    3. God gave you two ears and one mouth. He wants you to listen twice as much as you talk. (From a cadre at The Airborne School, Fort Benning GA)

    4. Interesting post in several ways. I just ordered the book, “You Lost Me” and the other listed on Amazon…looking forward to reading them.

      Some of the best advice? Here’s a couple:

      “In order to get what you want, you have to make an argument and defend it.” (This from my fiancee’, who teaches college speech communication, argument theory and debate. It works well to remember this, because it takes courage to ask for something you want, but it takes smarts to ask for it and explain why you deserve it.

      “Listening is a more important skill than talking.” (College Professor)This is true because listening not only helps you get the details from any message, but because in any conversation, the person you are talking to would rather talk about themselves than talk about you. If you listen, you can keep the conversation going by asking the apropriate questions. Then whoever you are talking to will think you are the best communicator ever!

    5. One of my first bosses in the 60’s was the opposite to your Dad, he used to say “No one is indispensible”.
      My Gran used to say, “always polish the back of your shoes. It’s important to look like a gentleman both approaching and leaving someone”. I think I used to forget.

    6. “When you point the finger at someone, three of your fingers point back at you.”

    7. Jeffrey Armstrong, President of Baptist Life Association, is generously extending the use of their Christian Publication Discount to all Alliance member societies who would like to purchase You Lost Me by David Kinnaman. The cost for the hardcover book is $10.00 including tax and shipping. Retail price for this book would normally be $17.99 plus tax. Anyone interested in this offer should email Julia Szymanski, Fraternal Benefits Coordinator at jszymanski@baptistlife.org or call her at 800-227-8543 extension 418. Much thanks to Jeff and Baptist Life for sharing this discount with us.

    8. One of my mentors said, “People can change, but seldom do.”
      Another mentor said, “When we focus on the heart, the pocketbook will follow.” He was my Pastor.
      I often repeat, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you always got.”
      A friend shared with me, “The only person who doesn’t make a mistake is the one who doesn’t do anything.”
      Also, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” Or, “Fear kills everything.”

    9. I knew you were out there! Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom — and keep the sage advice coming!

    10. Always have a plan “B” because plan “A” may fail. (My Uncle George)

      Don’t put off living your life until retirement…live it now! (My Dad)

    11. It seems to me that the sale of almost any product to someone with signs of dementia would be unsuitable. But it also seems discriminatory to tell someone that once they turn 80 or 85 that they are no longer smart enough to understand the purchase of an annuity. Every sale needs to be suitable for the buyers circumstances regardless of age.

    12. A quote from a friend that has always stuck with me “You can only fire a bullet one time” meaning if you have an issue with something that was done to you at some time in the past, address the issue with the person once and put it to rest. Don’t keep bringing it up years later.

    13. In his book, “Building Better Families,” Matthew Kelly writes, “What do you plan to do today, or what did you do today, to build a better version of yourself, physically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually?” Then he encourages us to lead that discussion with our family at the dinner table. My performance coach would say, “Let that sit on your head a while.”

    14. My dad hammered home the phrase “Life isn’t fair” and I have in turn drilled the phrase into my teenagers brain.

    15. Like Fran (above) I was told to dress for the job I wanted, not the job I have.
      Mom told me “choose your battles”. Her advice was mainly about child-rearing, but it works for all other situations, too.

    16. From my dad: “As a twig is bent, so will it grow”…a reference to raising children, but is also applicable to training an employee.

    17. Kill them with kindness- my mom. It came in handy in school, in past jobs, with friends and most recently in my new position with members who are a bit resistant to the change my role represents. Either way, Kill them with kindess has been a great piece of advice for me.

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