Annuity Q & A, featuring Keith Burger
Written by Chris Olson on Jul 27, 2021
You recently joined Luma after two decades of distributing annuities at AIG. Can you tell us why you chose to make the leap from traditional insurance to fintech insurance?
I am very passionate about the annuity industry and excited about the increased relevance of annuities as a growing number of savers prepare for and enter retirement. However, I have thought for many years that there are a number of avenues in which the annuity business is conducted that could be improved by technology, thus providing a better advisor and client experience.
This convergence of the annuity opportunity to help clients reach their retirement goals, and FinTech’s ability to reduce much of the business friction that has previously hindered the transacting of the product set, will drive growth in the category for years to come. I am excited to bring my experience to Luma to help bring broker/dealers, RIAs and insurance carriers closer together with technology.
What has been the impact of technology on the annuity industry, and where do you see it going from here?
It was not too long ago that many annuity applications were paper-based and digitization of the product set was not even on the horizon. We have come a long way, but it is still more difficult for advisors to conduct annuity business than other parts of their business. This is compounded by the fact that Insurance Companies recognize the business opportunity within the annuity category, and are introducing more products, and building out new product categories (RILAs) to gain share. I believe that Luma can help simplify and streamline the way in which investment firms and their financial professionals transact their annuity business, solving for the industries long-lived problem.
What separates Luma’s platform from its competitors?
Luma offers a more cohesive, end to end experience vs. the competition. In addition, Luma offers more flexibility in terms of customization and integration while maintaining an eye on ease of onboarding. Luma also provides attractive insurance carrier economics and value, which often leads to more competitive products for the end user to transact in.
When you look at the Luma platform, what features on the annuity side provide the most value to advisors?
The fact that Luma can offer all highly rated products available in the market, through our relationship with Cannex, is an unmatched value-add. This includes access to all advisory annuity products, which we believe will be an area for real growth over the next few years. The Luma platform can seamlessly integrate with AOE systems, as well as b/ds and RIAs to offer these products today.
In your experience, what are the most common misconceptions about annuity products that you have come across?
There continues to be the misperception that annuities are expensive and don’t bring real value to clients. Nothing could be further from the truth. The vast majority of Americans can benefit from at least exploring how guaranteed lifetime income can help improve their retirement planning. In addition, many types of annuities can be a nice alternative to more traditional fixed income assets.
Why is NOW an attractive time for advisors to be transacting in the annuity marketplace on behalf of their clients?
The relative value of annuity products has never been greater than what insurance carriers are bringing to market today. When you compare guarantees and rates vs. 10-year Treasury rates, the gap and thus client value has never been higher. Luma brings efficiency and transparency to the entire process.