SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.¾ Investors and financial planners have yet to reap the full benefits of annuity lifetime payouts, but they re slowly getting the message. thanks to Ben Stein, this year’s honorary chairman of the National Retirement Planning Coalition.

The National Association for Variable Annuities (NAVA) will also be training 1,000 top producers throughout the country on variable and fixed annuities. That is what NAVA President and CEO Mark Mackey’s had to say before introducing Stein, this year’s keynote speaker at the Variable Insurance Products conference here last Monday.

"We expect a very enthusiastic response," Mackey said

Besides the importance of getting the complex message of annuities’ role in retirement and tax planning out there, Mackey and other speakers said, the annuity industry must sidestep the turmoil rocking the mutual fund industry.

The insurance industry must "protect [its] integrity and reputation," particularly in light of the increasing importance of lifetime payout and retirement planning to sustain the aging U.S. population and the fragility of the Social Security system, Mackey said. "Millions of people don’t know if they will have the economic resources to sustain themselves."

Stein, an economist, former White House speechwriter and perhaps best known for his role in "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off," commended the industry for striving to protect the nation’s retirement wealth.

After asking the ballroom of more than 1,500 insurance executives to recognize the troops in Iraq with 10 seconds of silence, Stein later related the importance of the work of the annuity industry to those serving and protecting our country.

"It’s really, really wonderful, that thing you guys sell. Peace of mind, as opposed to fear," Stein said.



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