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Genworth says it's committed to its LTCI business

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Securities analysts and investors pummeled Genworth Financial Inc. today in the wake of an announcement that the company is adding $531 million to its $15 billion in long-term care insurance (LTCI) claim reserves.

The price of the company’s shares ended the day at $8.65, down from a trading range of about $13 to $14.

But Genworth said it wants to continue to stick to its LTCI business and believes most of the problems have to do with bad assumptions on older LTCI policies.

“We remain committed to transforming this business,” the company said in a presentation for investors. “Despite current challenges on older blocks, we believe that long-term care insurance remains an attractive business over the long-term.”

Company executives said during a conference call with securities analysts that they are reviewing the assumptions underlying its entire block of LTCI business and may end up organizing new, multi-year efforts to increase rates.

But Tom McInerney, the company’s president, said during the call that the company continues to believe it can increase LTCI sales and earn solid profits.

“We continue to introduce higher-return, lower-risk products,” McInerney said.

The company may have to accept lower sales in the short-term, while those LTCI products get traction, McInerney said.

But McInerney said he believes the opportunity is worth having to be more conservative about forecasting product ramp-up time.

“We’re leading the charge in reshaping this industry,” McInerney said.

In the investor presentation, the company said it intends to expand internal LTCI policy monitoring and external reporting processes; review claim reserves more often; realign key actuarial and financial positions at the LTCI business to bolster resources; and lobby for changes in LTCI regulations.

“New Genworth LTC products largely eliminate interest rate and lapse risk,” the company says.

The new products also help reduce exposure to morbidity risk, the company says.


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