* Do your agents know variable products? In a recent issue of National Underwriter, columnist and Chatham, MA­p;based attorney Hill Gallagher predicted the next life insurance scandal will come about because of how variable-life products are sold. Demonstrating that it is possible for a variable-life policy to underperform substantially its underlying fund, Gallagher called for new illustration and sales practices. Perhaps it's time to schedule a variable-life training series.

* Communicators do the Texas 2-Step when they meet in San Antonio September 25 to 28. The Life Communicators Association holds its annual meeting at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort, featuring a keynote by Robert Astley, president & CEO, Mutual Life of Canada, who will discuss the forces driving the industry's consolidation; a debate between Philip Corwin, counsel to the American Bankers Association, who will argue why banks should be in life insurance, and Kenneth Cohen, senior vice president and counsel at MassMutual, on why they should not; and many more speakers and sessions. Call Brad Bradford at (770) 980-5677 for information.

* Colin Powell will address marketing executives at the annual meeting of the Life Insurance Marketing Research Association (LIMRA), October 28 to 30 in Washington, DC. Powell will speak on the meeting's theme: "Leadership-The Road Less Traveled." Registration materials will be mailed to member companies in August.

* Here's an educational pillow gift idea: The "How To" Book: A Practice Management Guide, a best-selling manual published by the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT). The manual is divided into five sections related to running a life insurance or financial services business: business plan, human resources, facilities and equipment, financial management, and business continuity. Call MDRT at (847) 692-6378.