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Study: Life Book Values Will Show Effect Of Slump

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A team of securities analysts has tried to calculate how much recent market turmoil might hurt the finances of the life insurance companies it follows.

Securities analysts at UBS Investment Research, New York, say first-quarter drops in the value of asset categories such as asset-backed securities and low-rated bonds could lead to unrealized investment losses at 12 of the 13 U.S. life companies that the team rates.

One of the companies, Aflac Inc., Columbus, Ohio, could enjoy a $103 million unrealized investment gain.

But the other companies in the team’s “universe” may report unrealized losses of about $72 million to $9.1 billion, with 7 reporting unrealized losses over $500 million, the analysts predict.

The ratio of unrealized losses to company book value could range from 2.5% to 7.6%, with the median ratio hovering somewhere around 3.5%, the analysts estimate.

“Book value” is a theoretical measure of a company’s net worth, or the difference between the values of the assets and liabilities that a company reports on its balance sheet.


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