The President's Message
Depending on how you looked at 2012, you saw challenge or opportunity. At Columbus Life, we saw the opportunity to differentiate ourselves in the life insurance industry.
In a year of changing industry regulations, unpredictable product pricing, and removal of some products altogether by carriers, we offered stability to both producers and consumers. For producers, we saw an opportunity to help guide them through economic, tax and legislative uncertainties. For consumers, we offered straightforward, dependable financial products.
During 2012, revisions to Actuarial Guideline 38 (AG 38) increased reserve requirements for guaranteed universal life (UL) products. The combination of AG 38 and the historically low interest rate environment presented a challenge to many companies. Our guaranteed UL products have featured consistent pricing since 2008, which is significant given that 2008 began the two-year eco¬nomic downturn now called the Great Recession. This example is indicative of Columbus Life’s careful and consistent product design as well as our financial strength as a member of Western & Southern Financial Group.
Life insurance premium sales by producing general agents rose for the third consecutive year. The number of indexed UL policies increased 21 percent compared to 2011. Universal life sales proved to be a bright spot, with the number of UL policies sold increasing seven percent over 2011. Thirteen-month persistency for all UL products increased to more than 97 percent, and fixed annuity sales remained steady.
One of the areas where Columbus Life shows remark¬able growth continues to be the Asian-American market. Solid products and relationships are at the core of this growth. Consider these Asian-American market statistics for Columbus Life as of 2012:
- Contracted Asian-American agencies grew 550 percent from 2009 to 2012.
- Contracted Asian-American producers grew 593 percent from 2009 to 2012.
- Life premium from Asian-American producers grew 92 percent between 2010 and 2012.
- Life policies from Asian-American producers grew 78 percent between 2010 and 2012.
In 2012, Donna Schenk, Vice President of Marketing Services, retired after 15 years of service. Columbus Life is proud of our ability to develop leadership internally, and with that in mind, we promoted Steve Sanders from Distribution Vice President, Field Development, to Vice President of Marketing Services. This ensured a seamless transition of marketing services and brought new energy to the marketing team. Oversight of agency operations was transitioned to Jim Acton, Vice President and Senior Financial Officer, bringing additional financial expertise to our administrative functions.
Every decision we make and every program we implement are made with independent producers in mind. The home office is unanimous and unwavering in its recognition that independent producers are the lifeblood of our business. Without them, our financial products would never be utilized; they are ambassadors for our organization.
We continue to offer a mix of products, personal service, sales tools and a competitive compensation package to support independent producer success. The formula is working. According to LIMRA, the overall number of life insurance agents in the United States is shrinking industrywide.¹ However, Columbus Life is reversing that trend, having contracted 79 new producing general agencies in 2012 — one of the company’s best recruiting years ever — at a time when the pool of life insurance agents is dwindling. That is a positive sign in the midst of challenging times for the industry as a whole. Thank you for doing business with Columbus Life. We appreciate your confidence in us and in our products and remain committed to serving you.
J.J. Miller, FSA, CLU, ChFC
President and Chief Executive Officer
Columbus Life Insurance Company
¹ Forces of Change: Issues Facing Distribution Leaders, LIMRA and McKinsey & Company 2010.