There's no doubt that annuities are one of the most complex insurance products to sell. With their various returns and permutations, it can take months for an insurance agent to pitch one properly to a client. Buyers may need at least three or four in-person meetings each lasting two hours before they feel comfortable investing.
Which is why Glenn Neasham's experience is such a cautionary tale.
Neasham, a 52-year-old independent insurance agent from California, was convicted of theft as a felony charge for selling one of his annuity life insurance products to an 83-year-old woman who prosecutors say was in the early stages of dementia. As a result, he quickly went from earning $500,000 a year to seeking donations for legal fees, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Neasham has said in his defense that the client he sold to appeared fine and showed no signs of confusion at the time of the transaction, which was in 2008. But his story is stirring up fears among others in the field. Arthur Rudnick, an agent living in White Plains, N.Y., told the Journal that Neasham's case will remain in the back of his my mind when dealing with elderly clients.
With so many baby boomers seeking annuities as a way to hedge against declining returns from their retirement nest eggs, now, more than ever, Rudnick said, he's willing to walk away from a potential sale. A lesson that other agents may do well to heed.
Related: The Art of Selling an Annuity
Big Bucks (WSJ)
Louis D'Ambrosio, chief executive of Sears Holding Corp., earned $9.9 million last year, according to a company filing.
Brown's Latest Promotion (Retailing Today)
Tim Brown, 52, a Kroger veteran who joined the Cincinnati-based supermarket chain as an in-store bagger at the age of 17, is taking on a new role: president of the company's Delta division, which includes stores in Western Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri.
A Head above the Rest (WSJ)
Meet the Tall Club of New York, which holds monthly meetings so that its members can network across their industries. The minimum height for women interested in joining is 5-foot-10. The minimum height for men is 6-foot-2.
More Print Woes (Bloomberg)
Print ad sellers faced an even tougher battle in 2011. U.S. newspapers lost $10 in print ad revenue last year for every $1 they gained in online ad revenue, a greater loss than in 2010, according to a Pew Research Center study.
Vimeo's New Boss (AllThingsD)
Kerry Trainor, a former AOL and Yahoo executive, has joined the IAC/InterActiveCorp's online video subsidiary Vimeo as its chief executive, bumping down Dae Mellencamp, who had been running the site since 2009. Mellencamp is staying on as president, Vimeo said.
Murdoch's Career Troubles (Bloomberg)
James Murdoch is struggling to keep his career afloat in the wake of the News Corp. hacking scandal, says Bloomberg. Murdoch has lost several key positions in recent months, including his roles as a board member of auction house Sotheby's and pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline. News Corp. is the parent company of Dow Jones, which owns FINS.
C-Span CEO Steps Down (Media Decoder)
Brian Lamb, C-Span's chief executive who for helped found the nonprofit cable network in the late 1970s, is getting ready to give up that title. C-Span's co-chief operating officers, Rob Kennedy and Susan Swan, will take over as co-chief executives, effective April 1.
Young Innovators (Adweek)
Adweek names 20 influential media and marketing professionals under 40. Among them are Jeff Benjamin, 37, chief creative officer of JWT North America and Anthony De Rosa, 36, Reuter's social media editor.
Becoming a Retail CMO (Ad Age)
Ad Age offers a nugget of advice for those who have their hearts set on becoming retail chief marketing officers: start diversifying your skills to include creative marketing, traditional media planning, social media, mobile strategy and data analysis.
Buzz Around the Office
The performance group Improv Everywhere pulls its latest prank in New York.
List of the Day: Career Preservation
Not every career has to be fragmented. Here are three ways to preserve your career over the next 40 years.
1. Play more video games. The gaming industry is now larger than Hollywood and can teach you a thing or two about technology.
2. Start and maintain an exercise routine to help manage stress and creative blocks.
3. Don't believe every story of doom and gloom about an industry.