The AARP Texas State Office was the recent recipient of the “Agent for Social Change” creativity award, given by AARP’s Recognition Award Program. This award honors collaboration and creativity that contributes to the success of AARP’s priority issues.
AARP Texas was recognized for our efforts to help Texans build and preserve assets through new consumer protections around investment products.
One such example is our work on annuities, which pay fixed or variable amounts at regular intervals based on one or more initial payments to a life insurance company. Annuities can be a helpful financial-planning tool for investors who want to guarantee a future income. But state regulators have reported a high number of complaints about misleading sales and hefty penalties.
During the 2009 Texas Legislative Session, we advocated for stronger protections for seniors. Our efforts paid off and five bills were passed to improve annuity disclosures, reduce annuity penalties and outlaw phony “Senior Specialist” designations. The legislature also passed bills to ensure that insurance agents are better trained and certified to offer complex products like annuities.
Our success resulted, in part, from a strong partnership between volunteers and staff. Our volunteers helped every step of the way by testifying in committee meetings, walking the halls of the Capitol and calling on their state representatives and senators in support of the bills.
AARP Texas is proud to recognized as an “Agent for Social Change” and remains committed to improving investor protections in the state of Texas in 2010.