American Equity Investment Life: 2022 CEO Letter to Shareholders
As I enter my third year as CEO, I wanted to start my annual letter by reflecting on the past two years and how we approach strategy and organizational culture at American Equity, the latter being the secret ingredient. of the sustainable success of any organization over the long term. Over the past two years, the world around us has changed dramatically, including the transition of COVID-19 from a global pandemic to an endemic that will likely be part of our daily lives, heightened geopolitical risks not seen since the Second World War, a potential de-globalization of global trade with on-shoring or near-shoring of supply chains, and macroeconomic environments in the United States and globally seemingly at inﬂection points, with the trajectory of ﬁnancial markets becoming increasingly uncertain.
American Equity offers guaranteed promises to over 500,000 individuals and their families – helping our policyholders live their lives or pass on an inheritance with ﬁnancial dignity.
The past two years have shown very clearly that a volatile and complex world is changing at an accelerating pace. Individuals and organizations must determine how they will thrive in such an environment. Within our business, we began by reinventing ourselves from being a US-focused Fixed Index Annuity (FIA) originator for the first twenty-four years of our existence, to a more customer-focused business. and goal-oriented that has a high degree of vertical integration into our value chain creating a franchise that is sustainable through economic cycles. Essentially, operating as a more holistic, asset management-focused insurance provider. We first described this new business model, dubbed “American Equity 2.0”, in the second half of 2020, and 2021 was the year of transition to this strategy.
Let me start with our re-imagining of the purpose of American Equity. In an increasingly uncertain world, American Equity offers guaranteed promises to more than 500,000 people and their families – helping our policyholders live their lives or pass on an inheritance with financial dignity. The sense of fulfillment, joy and peace of mind that our clients and their ﬁnancial advisors experience in the daily lives of having promises or guarantees from American Equity is what motivates our employees. Numerous research studies confirm that financially confident and happier people live longer and are more likely to contribute positively to society.
To deliver on our goal-oriented promises to our clients, American Equity must deliver world-class performance in a number of areas, which form the building blocks of the virtuous flywheel of our new business strategy. However, even before having and implementing a solid and forward-looking business strategy, it is essential for an organization to have the talent and culture for the future. I am proud to share with you that your company has made tremendous progress in this area and has become a more adaptable and learning organization. This was abundantly visible in 2021 as we demonstrated the meta-competency of learning to learn new things, continued to add new talent to our leadership ranks in various geographies across the US, started to refresh the board of Directors and launched a multi-year effort to reskill our existing talent and redesign our business processes.
As we move forward into 2022, I’m very proud that the culture of American Equity will become a high-performing learning organization that capitalizes on opportunity, navigates through turbulence, and simultaneously shapes the asset management and insurance sectors in which we operate. It is with such a dynamic and up-to-date organizational culture and the execution of our forward-looking AEL 2.0 business strategy that we will continue to achieve sustainable, long-term shareholder value creation.
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