Industry Commentary

blue universe

#268 | Constellation Buys Ohio National

A few days ago, Ohio National announced that it has agreed to be acquired by Constellation Insurance Holdings, a de-novo insurance holding company without even a website that is owned by two Canadian pension plans. The transaction is styled as…

#265 | A Strategic Review at Principal

Last week, Principal announced that it is “initiating a strategic review of its business mix, capital management and capital deployment options” as a result of activist fund Elliott Management taking a 10% stake in the company. Immediately – and understandably…

#256 | Symetra’s Gambit – Follow Up

In late 2013, just before I closed down the first iteration of The Life Product Review and joined MetLife, I wrote an article entitled Symetra’s Gambit. The crux of the article was that Symetra was carving out marketshare by offering…

#253 | The End of the Asset Management Era

The typical narrative in the life insurance business is that falling interest rates are an unmitigated disaster for life insurance companies resulting in spread compression, unsupportable guarantees, expense pressure and general malaise. There’s certainly truth in the narrative – and…

#249 | AIG Exits Life & Retirement

Yesterday, AIG announced that it has made the strategic decision to exit its Life & Retirement division in order to create two distinct “market-leading” companies with AIG itself focusing exclusively on its P&C business. The details of the separation have…

#247 | AG 49-A & Product Development

This article was originally intended to be published in a publication for actuaries. Trying to make Indexed UL illustrations work within the Illustration Model Regulation is like trying to get a Sumo wrestler to do ballet. It’s possible, but not…

#243 | Rethinking Whole Life Dividends

One of the things I’ve been hearing a lot recently, especially from folks on the independent side of the business, is some variant of the argument that low interest rates are going to crush dividend scale interest rates (DSIRs) on…

#237 | The Tangled Reinsurance Web – Part 6 – Through The Maze

At last, we’ve come to the end of this series that attempts to untangle the tangled web of reinsurance. It seems like an eternity since the first article was published at the end of April. What have we discussed so…

#224 | The Tangled Reinsurance Web – Part 5 – The Power of Coinsurance

The tension between growth and capital is as old as time, but it takes on a unique dimension for life insurers. Most businesses view capital as a cushion to ride out temporary setbacks in the core business or to fund…

#223 | The Tangled Reinsurance Web – Part 4 – Coinsurance and Capital

As we’ve already seen, the power of coinsurance is that a life insurer can essentially borrow the economics of another life insurer within the defined confines of the reinsurance treaty. It’s not unlike what John and Jeremy, the protagonists of…

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