The Insured Retirement Institute Friday responded to the Federal Insurance Office’s request for comment on how to modernize insurance regulation in the U.S., saying that the nation’s insurance regulatory system needs to be modernized — and insurance products, most notably annuities and other insured retirement income products, need to be made available to underserved populations.

IRI encouraged the FIO to help Americans better prepare for retirement and insure against the risk of outliving their assets.

“Seventy-nine million baby boomers today face immediate and unprecedented retirement income challenges — challenges that simply did not exist in earlier generations,” said IRI President and CEO Cathy Weatherford, in the letter to the FIO.

“IRI’s research shows a concerning lack of savings [among] middle-income consumers nearing retirement,” Weatherford said. “Nearly one-third of baby boomers cite having adequate retirement assets as a top concern, while over half said they will work for income in retirement — meaning they actually will not be retired.”

IRI is calling for federal and state regulators to spearhead education on longevity risk — and what they can do to mitigate it through investments.

IRI wants Congress to pass the Lifetime Income Disclosure Act, which would require 401(k)s and other defined contribution plans to equip workers with how their savings would translate into retirement income.

The IRI also would like the Securities and Exchange Commission to adopt a variable annuity summary prospectus to make the information more user-friendly.

Further, IRI wants states to pass a compact assuring uniform product standards and approval deadlines, as well as uniform agent licensing and exams.

Barney writes for Money Management Executive, a Source Media publication.

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