A company that made a deal for a big block of long-term care insurance (LTCI) business last year is out looking for more deals.
Philip Falcone, president of HC2 Holdings Inc. (NYSE: MKT:HCHC), talked about his company’s appetite for closed blocks of LTCI business earlier this week during a conference call with securities analysts.
“Our objective here is to acquire blocks of business at the appropriate premium, or, hopefully, discount, and run them off in an efficient manner,” Falcone said during the call, which was streamed live on the Web.
HC2 is hoping that, if it specializes in running closed blocks of LTCI business, it may be able to do that more profitably than an insurer that’s busy trying to sell other types of insurance, Falcone said.
But Falcone implied that LTCI is a good product for some insurer to sell.
“We believe that the long-term care product is an essential product,” Falcone said.
HC2, an affiliate of Harbinger Capital (NYSE:HRG), invests in many different industries. HC2 started its newest unit, the insurance unit, by agreeing in early 2015 to acquire Continental General Insurance Company and a sister company, United Teacher Associates Insurance Company, from American Financial Group Inc. (NYSE:AFG).
See also: What does that Harbinger LTCI deal mean?
HC2 agreed to pay $7 million up front and up to $13 million in future for operations with 58,000 LTCI insureds.
HC2 closed on the deal in December 2015. It brought in Jim Corcoran, who served as New York state insurance superintendent under the late Mario Cuomo, to run the insurance unit.
HC2 reports in a 2015 annual report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that the insurance unit lost $9.4 million on operations in the first quarter on $29 million in revenue. The unit ended the quarter with $1.4 billion in investment holdings and $2 billion in total assets.
American Financial had been using debt securities with an average duration of about five to seven years to support the LTCI business, Falcone said. He said HC2 believes that the LTCI liabilities have a typical duration of about 20 years. The company is hoping to increase investment yields by moving to longer-duration investments.
HC2 is also hoping to get a boost from state insurance regulators’ increased willingness to approve LTCI premium increases.
If improvements in health care reduce the amount of time the typical insured needs long-term care (LTC) services, that would help, Falcone said.
“Morbidity has become a more important factor than mortality,” he said. “The 85-year-old today is, essentially, more healthy than the 85-year-old yesterday, and five years ago… And they’re not necessarily living that many years longer.”
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