May 2014

Chairperson’s Corner

By Adam Vanevenhoven

Hopefully as a Marketing and Distribution (MaD) member you were able to attend one of our section-sponsored sessions last year in which the research we supported on the U.S. middle market consumer was discussed. Please review the research results on our section webpage if you haven’t had the opportunity already. On the website you’ll find a word document that summarizes the study and a comprehensive power point that contains details on the survey results that were collected. In the coming months you will be able to attend sessions on a parallel research project that MaD has co-sponsored with the International Section Council on the Chinese middle market consumer. We are excited to share the results of this second project with our membership. The first opportunity to hear about the China project will be at the Life and Annuity Symposium in May. MaD is also planning an Annual Meeting session that will compare and contrast the results of the U.S. and China projects.

The Chinese middle market research project relied heavily on local market experts who were also members of the International Section. In prior years my impression is that the MaD council has had a U.S. life insurance market focus due in a large part to the professional backgrounds of the section council participants. The research project with the International Section was a great opportunity to work with another section council MaD generally does not collaborate with. I’d like to highlight a few other examples of our work with other SOA sections:

  1. At the 2014 Annual Meeting we will be co-sponsoring a session with the Health Section titled, “The Retirement Dilemma: Buying Longevity Products or Covering Your Health Care Costs—Analysis from a Sales & Marketing Viewpoint”; and
  2. One our section members, PW Calfas, has served as a member of the Small Companies Section Products Sub-Team.

The Retirement Dilemma session is particularly interesting given that life insurers have had mixed success marketing longevity products to the aging population as well as the fact that health care markets have experienced so much change in the last few years. MaD also has a long tradition of sponsoring networking events with the Product Development section which will continue at the 2014 Annual Meeting. Please continue to attend, support, and enjoy these networking opportunities. MaD will continue to collaborate with other section councils to enrich the research, educational, and networking activities that we undertake.

Changing gears I’d like to highlight the incoming and departing MaD Section Council members since the previous NewsDirect issue was published last fall.

  • 2013 exiting MaD Section Council members: Doug Bennett (our prior chairperson); Jeff Koll; and Marianne Purushotham. All were very active during their terms, including development of and participation in numerous meeting sessions and webinars. Doug was the driving force behind the U.S. Middle Market research theme undertaken in 2012. They have a wealth of marketing and distribution experience and we look forward to their continued participation in the MaD council as friends.
  • Replacing these outgoing members are three individuals who have had considerable marketing and distribution experience in their actuarial careers. Eric Sondergeld, directs the Distribution & Technology Research programs at LIMRA. He has held numerous other research leadership positions at LIMRA and has a long history of volunteerism at the SOA.
  • Jill Klibanov is a leader for L&A product management for the BLC company. She partners with the sales and marketing teams to develop and implement new products. She has also graciously agreed to be our Secretary/Treasurer for 2014. Ashley Mehrer, who works at Unum, has life insurance pricing experience and is very excited to contribute to MaD as her first SOA volunteer experience.
  • Andy Ferris is our new board member representative and is a former chair of the MaD section.
  • I’d also like to take a moment to thank our SOA representatives Meg Weber and Christy Cook who work tirelessly to support our section and are always so cheerful and fun to work with. MaD has also enjoyed working with Ronora Styrker and the SOA research team on our projects over the last two years.

In 2014, in addition to our typical section activities such as the development of meeting sessions and webinars, the publication of this newsletter, and our ongoing research efforts, we plan to discuss new ways to deliver value to our membership. We are exploring ideas such as the possibility of making paid subscriptions to relevant publications available for members for free and also considering creating additional educational tools such as podcasts. These are just a couple of examples among many other possible initiatives to add value to members. In 2014 we’d also like to send our membership a survey to solicit your feedback and as always we also welcome any comments be sent directly to our MaD Section Council leadership.

The MaD Section Council looks forward to our continued service in 2014. Thank you for your membership and interest in our council activities.

Adam Vanevenhoven, FSA, MAAA, is a director at Prudential. He can be contacted at