Wednesday, January 11, 2017

From the Desk of Van A. Lumbard

It is with mixed feelings that I formally announce to our valued producers that I will officially retire as President of Ann Arbor Annuity Exchange as of December 31, 2016, after 25 years in that role and over 47 years in the industry.

On the one hand, I have enjoyed my long career in the industry, particularly my role as President of Ann Arbor Annuity Exchange for all these years. On the other hand, those years have flown by so quickly – far too quickly – and the closer I have come to the time when I would step aside, the more difficult it has become to actually do so, even as I know it is the right decision for me.

The life insurance and annuity industry has been very good to me over the years. It has allowed me to do and experience things I never even imagined as a young man graduating from the University of Nebraska. I was lucky enough to be the first in my family to get a college degree and shortly thereafter get my first career opportunity with one of the giants of the industry, then and now, Mutual of Omaha/United of Omaha. During my long career I was very fortunate to have a number of outstanding role models and mentors who helped me every step along the way. I was able to learn the business from the right people, and they helped me to grow in so many ways. The one thing they all had in common was tremendous pride in this industry and its significant role in making people’s lives better. I have tried very hard in my career to pay that forward.

As my career comes to an end, I am very optimistic about the future of this industry, even though there is much uncertainty about the DOL fiduciary rule, not only about its implementation, but also whether or not litigation efforts, legislative efforts, or the new Trump Administration will prevent its implementation.  The DOL rule is not the first and will not be the last challenge to the industry. Over my career there have been numerous challenges that, in their time, appeared to pose major difficulties for the industry. However, in every case, the industry was able to adapt and to innovate and to continue to prosper. No matter what happens with the DOL rule or other potential changes down the line from a regulatory or legislative standpoint, I have confidence that the industry will continue to adapt and to prosper.

I have confidence first and foremost in the people in this industry: those of you on the firing line who sell the outstanding products we offer to those who need them, the outstanding company personnel who manufacture those products, and, of course, those organizations such as Ann Arbor Annuity Exchange who distribute those products to their outstanding producers.  Ann Arbor Annuity Exchange is a family, and its producers, as well as its employees, are all members of that family. It has been a privilege to be associated with all of you.

As announced earlier this year, Scott Wheeler and Tom Wade, two industry veterans with a proven track record of success, will now take on the additional role of leading Ann Arbor Annuity Exchange with Heath Waddington continuing in his role as Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. While I am stepping down as President, I will be working with Scott, Tom, and Heath as a consultant over the next several months to ensure a smooth transition of leadership for Ann Arbor Annuity Exchange’s associates and producers. So I will save my final farewells for another time. I wish the new management the best of success and will be available to them in any way I can to make that success a reality.

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