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Conning: Life insurers are revising investments

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The U.S. life insurance industry is shifting its investment allocations as liquidity pressure has eased, according to a new study by Conning.

“In 2012 life insurers shifted allocations to reduce holdings in common and preferred stock and increased cash, short term bonds and Schedule BA assets,” says Mary Pat Campbell, analyst at Conning. “We view these shifts as an attempt by life insurers to both increase yield and minimize volatility.

“Direct holdings in real estate and mortgages also saw significant increases due to both improved valuations and increased allocations, Campbell adds. All fixed income asset classes saw growth as well.”

The Conning study, Life Insurance Industry Investments: A New Perspective on Asset Allocations and Assets,” analyzes life industry investments for the period 2008-2012 for the industry as a whole, by insurer size, and for five peer groups. The study combines a discussion of strategic issues facing the life insurance industry with a detailed examination of its investment profile.

“Though the industry gross book yield as a whole has been decreasing for some time, there is a wide distribution of yield results in the 2008-2012 study period,” says Steve Webersen, director of research at Conning. “Some insurers have maintained a consistently higher yield relative to the industry average.

“Through various analytical approaches and analyzing company groupings, we discovered there were several roads that led to higher yielding portfolios,” he adds.