Most life insurance company chief financial officers believe the Sarbanes-Oxley Act has improved external financial reporting, but about 90% say the expense of SOX compliance outweighs the gains in clarity.

Researchers at Towers Perrin Inc., Stamford, Conn., have reported that finding in a summary of results of an informal survey of life company CFOs.

The researchers also asked about use of “value-based” measures for financial reporting, executive compensation and management decisionmaking

The researchers found signs of increasing use of value-based measures in internal reporting and executive compensation performance measurement.

About 37% of CFOs now use embedded value techniques for executive compensation performance measurement, and 45% use embedded value techniques for internal reporting.