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Conning: Life Settlements May Affect Policy Prices

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NU Online News Service, June 26, 2003, 1:10 p.m. EDT – Life insurers may have to consider the effects of life settlements when setting policy prices, according to analysts at Conning Research & Consulting Inc., Hartford.

Conning analysts have completed a study, “Life Settlements: Additional Pressure on Life Profits,” that reviews the history of life settlements and suggests that use of the product may grow substantially.

Life settlement providers buy the right to collect life insurance policy death benefits from insureds who are sick. Some providers also buy death-benefit rights from insureds who are old or who simply want to give up the policies.

In the past, fraud has caused problems for the life settlement industry.

Legitimate settlement providers are working with regulators and insurers to minimize fraud, but even legitimate settlements could squeeze insurers’ profit margins, by reducing the percentage of insureds who let policies lapse before the policies pay off, according to the Conning analysts.

Conning is a unit of Swiss Reinsurance Company, Zurich.