Impact of the 2012 election on the insurance industry

By Jeff Reed

Kestler Financial Group


Regardless of your political affiliation, there is one undeniable fact about the results of the recent election: They will impact our business. Tax law changes affecting estate planning are really just the beginning. Income tax rates and the potential for taxation of inside buildup of cash value in insurance products are also in play.

This presents two questions as I see it:

  • What can we still accomplish from a planning perspective before the sun sets on the current estate tax laws?

  • What are the longer-term impacts of the election around estate planning, life insurance taxation and financial services legislation? We have all heard about the opportunity the current gifting limits afford high-net-worth clients. What we have not seen is the flood of sales that could have accompanied such a finite opportunity. American General has identified three strategies that allow clients to still take action this year, yet have the ability to "unwind" these transactions and recover the assets should they change their mind. Now that the election is over, those clients who may have been waiting to see who won can use these ideas to execute on gifting strategies before the opportunity rides off into the sunset.

    Preparing for the sunset of the 2012 lifetime gift tax exemption

    As we all begin to turn our attention to next year, the second bullet point above becomes more and more important. The long-term impacts of the election are far more important to the future of our business than anything that may happen over the coming weeks.

    Even though the ballots are barely done being counted, John Hancock has provided some early analysis based on the winners and losers from earlier this month. Please listen in to the post-election edition of JHAM Radio, hosted by Randy Zipse, Senior Counsel and VP of JH Advanced Markets Group, and featuring Chris Morton, VP, Legislative Affairs with AALU, as they discuss the election's impact.