LTCI carrier seeks 45.9% rate increase


John Hancock Life Insurance Company is asking for rate increases on about 8,600 long-term care insurance (LTCI) policies now in force in Connecticut.

The company, a unit of Manulife Financial Corp. (TSX:MFC), says the increases would average 45.9 percent.

Hancock sold the policies from 1991 through 2012.

Hancock told Connecticut insurance regulators it is applying for the increase because it found when it conducted a claims study that it is getting more expensive, longer-lasting claims, and because the policyholders are living longer.

"Our study found that many more insureds are expected to claim than what we assumed in the pricing of these policy forms, reinforcing the value of the product to policyholders, but creating a pricing issue," Michelle Fluent, a senior contract consultant at Hancock, wrote in a letter introducing the filing.

The current average annual premium levels for the policy blocks involved range from $950 to $2,500.

After the increases, the average levels would range from $1,246 to $3,280.

Meanwhile, in related news, Connecticut regulators have rejected LTCI rate increase applications from units of MedAmerica Insurance Company and a unit of Unum Group Corp. (NYSE:UNM).

Connecticut regulators argued that the current levels of claims do not yet justify the kinds of rate increases the companies are seeking.

Representatives from MedAmerica and Hancock were not immediately available to comment.

Unum said in a statement that the company works with all departments of insurance to make certain rate filings reflect all regulatory requirements.

"We look forward to ongoing discussions and filings in Connecticut," the company said.

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