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Challenges and Opportunities for Life Insurance in a Changing Economic Environment: Impact on Life Insurance Companies, Products and Underwriting



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The impact and the future uncertainty about the economy has everyone reviewing their personal financial plan and the financial products that support them. One bright spot for most clients is the life and annuity products they own. The stability and peace of mind that these products can offer clients in what will otherwise be a difficult first quarter review, will help them make the right decisions for the long term. The question is how does the economic fallout from the Coronavirus impact life insurance companies, the products they offer, and underwriting of these products going forward?

Life insurance companies are also impacted by this crisis, primarily through the financial instruments they hold in their general account, including bonds, mortgages and derivatives.  Changes in yield, defaults, or market pressures impact what can be credited to policies and the reserves required for new policies.  This presentation will examine what insurance professionals can expect in terms of changes and products available for the public through the following questions:

  • What opportunities exist to place business in the next 60 days before products and underwriting change?
  • What products are being pulled and/or limited now? And why?
  • What are the products we are most likely to see change and what does this mean for clients?
  • What will new product sets look like and how can you best adapt to these changes?
  • What response can we expect from the rating agencies?
  • How can you anticipate “traffic jams” in underwriting and reroute to get policies in place faster?

LAWRENCE J. RYBKA, JD, CFP® is the Chairman and CEO for Valmark Financial Group. Mr. Rybka joined the company 33 years ago after graduating from law school at Wake Forest University. Since 1999, when he became President and Chief Executive Officer, the company has experienced growth of 20 times in total revenue. Larry’s tenure at Valmark has been marked by working with advisors in creating innovation to better serve clients and proactively anticipating difficult regulatory challenges impacting how these services are delivered. 

His industry advocacy is also evidenced by testimony before legislative bodies and lobbying on behalf of advisors with FINRA, SEC, and several state Insurance Commissioners. Mr. Rybka is also a noted speaker and author with published articles in numerous industry journals. Two of his articles were recognized with industry awards, including The Journal of the American Society of CLU & ChFC® Author Award and the CFP® Board Article Award.   He was also an editor and coauthor, along with a dozen Valmark Member Firms, to a book called Life Insurance 10X which catalogues best practices for life insurance. He is also a co-author of one of the CCH Tools and Techniques Books with Steven Leimberg.



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Lawrence J. Rybka, JD, CFP® CHAIRMAN AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, VALMARK FINANCIAL GROUP
Larry J. Rybka joined Valmark in 1987 and became President and Chief Executive Officer twelve years later in 1999. In 2019, Larry became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Valmark. Under his leadership, the company has experienced revenue growth of 15 times. Larry’s tenure at Valmark has been marked by working with advisors in creating innovative solutions to better serve clients and proactively anticipating difficult regulatory challenges impacting how these services are delivered.

Larry’s industry leadership includes terms on the Boards of AALU, the MDRT Foundation and the University of Akron Foundation. He has also served as the Chair for various committees in the industry, including twice as the AALU Chair of the Regulatory Reform Committee and CFP Board of Examiners. His industry advocacy is also evidenced by testimony before legislative bodies and lobbying on behalf of advisors with FINRA, SEC and several state Insurance Commissioners.

Larry is a noted speaker and author and his articles have been published in numerous industry journals. Two of his articles were recognized with industry awards: the Journal of the American Society of CLU and ChFC’s Author Award as well as the CFP Board’s Article Award. He is also co-author of one of the CCH Tools and Techniques Books with Steven Leimberg.

Larry is credited locally with working alongside the University of Akron to create one of the first CFP programs within the Finance Department at the University of Akron’s College of Business. Over the years, Larry and Valmark have worked closely with the University of Akron to improve and grow the program. Valmark has been rewarded for that effort with 38 professionals joining Valmark’s internal team from the program.

Larry earned his Bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Akron, graduating with Honors, and his Juris Doctorate from Wake Forest University.


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