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Client conversations: Redefining transparency

APR. 26, 2019

I’m sure you’ve heard the word “transparency” bandied about the business world for a while now but what does it really mean? At Nationwide, we’re redefining what it means to be transparent.

We believe transparency means doing right by our clients — being honest, upfront and putting the needs of our clients and advisors first.

Here’s how you can ensure transparency in your business, too.

Don’t sell your clients false dreams — then have them pay for them later

When life insurance providers change their rates, it can have a significant impact on the plans you create with clients. Look for — or align with — carriers who rarely, if ever, increase Cost of Insurance (COI) rates on in-force1 customers. Don’t know? Ask your wholesaler.

Life insurance products should be priced for the long term — and to withstand challenges like economic fluctuations. Market changes may cause some providers to reactively adjust products or to completely exit certain markets so prepare your clients for these sorts of challenges.

Don’t let your clients be blindsided

It may not be wise to overly rely on a product illustration that shows a single, or even a few, expected market rates of return, as well as other critical assumptions.

Because of this, you should talk to your clients about non-guaranteed features that could impact their financial wellness and retirement plans and how the illustration would change if key assumptions changed.

Consider these talking points to help you guide clients as they make product decisions:

  • Non-guaranteed life insurance features – such as a persistency bonus – could impact your client’s plan
  • Non-guaranteed features, along with return expectations, help boost the illustration, but may expose clients to a greater risk of their policy not performing as originally illustrated
  • Make sure your clients are aware of products that offer guaranteed features, which include built-in persistency credits and COI reductions

Make sure the solutions you offer your clients are guaranteed

As mentioned earlier, transparency requires being upfront and putting the needs of your clients first, so it is important that clients are informed of insights that could impact those needs and their financial plans.

Here are some additional insights to share with your clients:

  • Some carriers have introduced index universal life (IUL3) products with new designs that improve illustration performance without exceeding the maximum illustrated rate. Know that these features aren’t guaranteed and may have a significant impact on your client’s ultimate product performance
  • If you sell a product with a multiplier feature, make sure it’s guaranteed
  • Show your clients what growth potential with downside protection looks like
  • Let your clients know performance and cash values will vary, but that you will partner with them to help them stay on track to meet their goals

Make it easier to be transparent and explain IUL for income

Customers think life insurance is expensive and complicated. They want to trust that their advisor is recommending the right product to best meet their needs.2

Look for carriers with tools to help clients understand how they may reach their retirement income goal and what they need to get there. Here’s how a tool can help:

Advisors can get access to a concise overview of how a product may fit their clients’ needs by answering just a few questions

A tool allows advisors to quickly prepare an estimate of the premium needed to reach a target income goal

Advisors can receive a PDF illustrating output, which they can share with clients

Nationwide is here to help

As a mutual, Nationwide strives to be a company you can trust and that will keep its promises to you and your clients. We will partner with you to provide you the tools and information you need to serve your clients. In the spirit of Transparency, have a look at some of Nationwide’s resources to help you in serving your clients on their retirement journey. .


Indexed universal life insurance policies are not stock market investments, do not directly participate in any stock or equity investments, do not receive dividend or capital gains participation. Past index performance of an index is no indication of future crediting rates.

Guarantees and protections are subject to the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance carrier.

As your clients’ personal situations change (i.e., marriage, birth of a child or job promotion), so will their life insurance needs. Care should be taken to ensure this product is suitable for their long-term life insurance needs. They should weigh any associated costs before making a purchase. Life insurance has fees and charges associated with it that include costs of insurance that vary with such characteristics of the insured as sex, health and age, and has additional charges for riders that customize a policy to fit their individual needs.


  • 1

    “In-force” refers to a policy already purchased and put into effect.

  • 2

    LIMRA Life Insurance Buyer study, 2016.

  • 3

    3 “IUL” products are indexed universal life insurance products, a form of permanent life insurance with accounts linked to market indexes for additional cash value growth potential