Notes From … the 2014 AALU Annual Meeting


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The cherry blossoms were in full bloom in Washington D.C. for the 57th annual AALU Annual Meeting, held May 4-6 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.

As always, there were almost too many highlights of the AALU Annual Meeting to list. Some of the major highlights of the conference, which included more than 1,000 life insurance industry representatives, included:

  • Rampant discussion of the “Camp Draft” of the Tax Reform Act of 2014. If enacted, the legislation would impose $60 billion in new taxes on life insurance companies, products and services. Not only would it end the corporate-owned life insurance (COLI) market as it exists today, but it would also open the door to future taxation of inside buildup in individual life insurance. Tuesday’s sessions were dedicated to sharing the message that the current tax treatment of life insurance is appropriate, and that the proposed changes would limit employers’ ability to provide employee benefits.
  • A presentation by Mark Wilkin and Michelle Cramer from Andesa, along with Becky Pressgrove from Equias Alliance, called “Getting Serious about Managing Third-Party Risk.” The presentation focused on OCC regulation 2013-29, which provides guidance on implementing an effective third-party risk management process. Other breakout sessions included topics such as being a trusted advisor, premium financing and expanding your business through digital marketing.
  • A presentation by retired U.S. Army General Stanley A. McChrystal, who captivated the audience with his stories of field-tested leadership that has helped to protect and secure our nation. His lessons, which could be applied to any industry, centered on open communication, collaboration, teamwork and innovation.
  • Monday presentations by Ray Kurzweil, Seth Godin, John Mackey, Terri Sjodin and the Right Honorable Gordon Brown. Each of these leaders offered a unique perspective on the future of our economy, technology, industry and success. (Andesa’s five representatives, by the way, took a divide-and-conquer approach in order to attend as many sessions as possible.)
  • Comic relief from comedian Kevin Nealon shared some much needed comic relief. The sign of a true comedian is one who can find humor in life insurance … and that he did! For more than hour, Nealon entertained a very exhausted, but still engaged, audience.

Being in the service industry, Andesa’s success is driven by continual learning, open communication and growing relationships, both new and old. The AALU annual meeting fostered an environment which enabled our management team to expand on all three of these elements of success. Many thanks to the AALU for hosting a wonderful conference!

– Michelle L. Cramer, Lead Actuary

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