Industry Commentary

small judge gavel placed on table near folders

#278 | Principal Completes its Strategic Review

Yesterday morning, Principal announced the conclusions of the strategic review that had been brought on by activist investor Elliott Investment Management’s increased stake in the company earlier this year and their demands that Principal take a hard look at its…

#275 | Permanent Insurance Goes Direct(ish)

If you were to just read the industry headlines, you’d think that the only revolution happening right now in the life insurance space is the explosion in growth and investment in online insurance marketing firms. That’s why I wrote last…

low light photography of white arrow

#274 | The Online Life Insurance Gamble

Last week, the insurance world was rocked by news that Ethos Life had secured an additional $200 million in funding at a whopping $2 billion valuation, placing the firm at roughly half the size of Brighthouse Financial, two-thirds the size…

man in black suit sitting on chair beside buildings

#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…

blue universe

#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…

See More Articles