Insurers have felt the threat of low interest rates since early August, when the Federal Reserve stated that it planned to keep rates low until at least mid-2013, unless the economy rebounds strongly.

Though not good news across the board, this announcement had a more severe impact on insurers than some other publicly traded companies, because such declines often make it difficult to pay higher rates guaranteed in insurance contracts such as annuities and universal life policies sold earlier.

However, on Friday, Jeffrey Schuman, an analyst with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, upgraded shares of Ameriprise Financial, and said he’s keeping an “overweight” rating on the life insurance stock group.

Schuman said persistently low rates don’t present a threat to life insurers’ balance sheets, noting that the sector could get a boost during upcoming third-quarter earnings annoucements, and that the repricing of insurance products to account for these low rates could also be beneficial.

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