BISA Magazine - Quarter 3, 2017 - 19

For years, American Equity Investment
Life Insurance Company avoided the
bank channel. No more.

F

or years, American Equity
Investment Life Insurance
Company avoided the bank
channel.

The West Des Moines,
Iowa-based insurance underwriter sold
its annuity products mostly through
independent marketing organizations
(IMOs) - i.e., independent insurance
agents - mindful of the popular wisdom that bank and broker/dealer (B/D)
distribution channels were just too different for traditional insurance carriers.
"We believed that for a long time until
we actually checked it out for ourselves," says Ron Grensteiner, the company's president, in a recent interview
with BISA Magazine.
What the company found was the
channels were not that different, recalls
Grensteiner. Yes, the policy durations
might be different, and banks called
their salespeople "reps" while IMOs
called theirs "agents" - but these were
largely nuances. In the end, customers
in all channels really wanted the same
thing: simple, transparent products supported with good service.
"Shame on us for listening to the
naysayers for so long," says Grensteiner,
whose company is today a top-three

underwriter of fixed indexed annuities (FIAs).
Thus, a few years ago American Equity
formed its Eagle Life division to focus
exclusively on the bank and B/D distribution channels.
The company does not appear to regret
that decision. "We see a lot of growth
in the bank channel," says Jeff Varisco,
senior vice president and chief administrative officer. IMOs still dominate
channel mix by volume at the company
(85 percent in 2016 compared to 15
percent for banks and B/Ds); but the
balance is changing. The mix could
reach 50/50 over the next three to five
years, Varisco says.

An Uptick at Banks
and B/Ds
The company takes some solace from
LIMRA Q1 2017 statistics: "Banks and
full-service national B/Ds saw a significant uptick in fixed annuity business
when compared to last quarter," reported the Windsor, Connecticut-based
research organization. "Sales were
aided by strong fixed-rate deferred and
indexed annuity sales growth." (See
sidebar on recent fixed annuity trends.)

19
BISA Magazine



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BISA Magazine - Quarter 3, 2017

Table of Contents
BISA Magazine - Quarter 3, 2017 - Cover1
BISA Magazine - Quarter 3, 2017 - Cover2
BISA Magazine - Quarter 3, 2017 - Table of Contents
BISA Magazine - Quarter 3, 2017 - 2
BISA Magazine - Quarter 3, 2017 - 3
BISA Magazine - Quarter 3, 2017 - 4
BISA Magazine - Quarter 3, 2017 - 5
BISA Magazine - Quarter 3, 2017 - 6
BISA Magazine - Quarter 3, 2017 - 7
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BISA Magazine - Quarter 3, 2017 - 17
BISA Magazine - Quarter 3, 2017 - 18
BISA Magazine - Quarter 3, 2017 - 19
BISA Magazine - Quarter 3, 2017 - 20
BISA Magazine - Quarter 3, 2017 - 21
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BISA Magazine - Quarter 3, 2017 - 32
BISA Magazine - Quarter 3, 2017 - Cover3
BISA Magazine - Quarter 3, 2017 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2017q4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2017q3
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2017q2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2017q1
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2016q4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2016q3
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2016q2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2016q1
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2015q4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2015q3
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2015q2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2015q1
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2014q4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2014q3
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2014q2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2014q1
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com