With the hiring of Steve Kluever from Jackson National Life Insurance Co., The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. hopes to increase sales of their variable annuities. Investment News’ Darla Mercado writes about the surprise transition in “The Hartford nabs VA exec from Jackson.” Since Hartford and Jackson have taken very different approaches to business following the financial meltdown of the past few years, many industry insiders were surprised by this transfer. Kluever will head a new position at Hartford as the vice president of annuity product and marketing. In 2006 Hartford was the fourth largest seller of variable annuities, but fell drastically after the economy went sour. They hope to come back from their significant variable annuity hedging losses with this new hire and position within the company.
Hartford was in 20th place last year in their sales of variable annuities, quite a jump from their fourth place status four years prior. Jackson, on the other hand, was the third largest variable annuity seller, likely due to their approach to product development in the past few years. Jackson’s financial advisors and clients have around 100 variable annuity subaccounts from which to choose, while Hartford chose to lessen the risk in their product line. While Hartford has to be careful about the changes they are making to increase their variable annuity presence, they are starting slowly by adding annuity wholesalers and enhancing their Personal Retirement Manager variable annuity soon. Working 401k annuities into their plan might also be an effective way to increase sales since even the federal government is suggesting these retirement products to help Americans combat longevity risk.