The Neasham case: How training fits in

By Lew Nason

Insurance Pro Shop

Over the past month we have all been reading and/or hearing a lot about the criminal trial of Glenn Neasham and his conviction of theft for selling an annuity to an 83-year-old woman.

Like many of you, I'm appalled that his case went to criminal court and by the precedence it sets. And, I agree that we have to make our voices heard by NAIFA, our other industry associations and the companies we represent to get them to help us to overturn this terrible injustice. I urge everyone to make their voices heard.

Unfortunately, as I’ve stated in several posts, we as an industry have brought much of this problem upon ourselves. This problem has occurred because most of the training and support in our industry has been primarily focused on selling products, instead of being focused on helping agents to really help people to solve their financial problems and concerns.

Consider, in reviewing some of the information Mr. Neasham has presented about his business practices, he stated that 90 percent of his sales where Allianz MasterDex 10. Is this a symptom and prime example of the poor training and support in our industry? Are there too many agents that are selling a product with the highest commissions, instead of focusing on really helping people?

If we don’t want similar criminal actions and/or more constrictive regulations in the future, then we must work hard to improve our industry’s reputation, to make it the respected and trusted profession it should be. We must get completely focused on helping families to spend, save, invest, insure and plan wisely for the future, to achieve financial independence.

I encourage every agent, advisor and planner to seek in depth training and support in helping their clients. It’s not just about the products we sell.

My final concern is that my sons and I have always had a problem with the two-tier products originally offered by Life USA in the 90s (now Allianz). In my opinion those two-tier annuityproducts boarder on smoke and mirrors and that is bad for our industry. While it’s true that annuities, in general, are great for seniors, it is also true that those two-tier products are not one of those products.

My sons and I have never been licensed with Life USA or Allianz and we do not recommend their products. Note: I’m not sure that this case would ever have gone to criminal court if the annuity policy that was sold to that 83-year-old woman had been a more traditional annuity product.