Looking to heat up sales of its high-end policies, New York Life Insurance Co. launched a series of estate planning seminars this week on Alaska trusts.
The insurer is teaming up with Alaska Trust Co., Anchorage, to promote the benefits of domiciling trusts in the state. New York Life sees an opportunity to sell insurance policies that fund Alaskan trusts.
New York Life decided a new trust law in Alaska was the right peg on which to hang an already planned seminar series, according to vice chairman Frederick J. Sievert.
The law, enacted April 1, lets people from around the country set up so- called asset protection trusts, a vehicle commonly found offshore. Alaska trusts are not subject to state income tax nor is any limit imposed on their duration.
The insurance company, which has had general agents in Alaska since 1889, lobbied for the law's enactment.
"We're attempting to more aggressively penetrate the advanced markets," Mr. Sievert said.
New York Life has a number of policies that can be used in estate planning, such as term, whole life, and survivorship whole life. The company, which had revenues of $18.3 billion last year, plans to introduce a survivorship variable product in May.
"This is exciting as it applies to life insurance trusts," Mr. Sievert said. "Most of what we've done in the trust area has been onshore and has not been geared toward protecting assets."
Mr. Sievert met Wednesday with Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles to discuss the alliance, along with Alaska Trust president Douglas J. Blattmachr and his brother, Jonathan G. Blattmachr, a partner in the New York law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy who drafted the Alaska trust law.
Alaska Trust, established this spring, has two corporate shareholders. One is DADCO, a financial services company based in Great Falls, Mont., with $6 billion of client assets under administration, and the other is Aleut Corp., a Native Alaskan company that invests in local businesses.
The Blattmachr brothers and representatives of New York Life will play host at the seminars through January in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington.