WASHINGTON — Mark E. Konen has retired as the head of the Lincoln Financial Group life insurance and retirement group, effective February 2017.
Thomas Gallagher, an insurance analyst at Evercore ISI in New York, voiced concerns that Konen’s retirement might have stemmed from “inconsistent returns” from Lincoln National Corp.’s (LNC) life insurance business, the biggest business for which he was responsible.
He also raised questions about whether the poor results stem from a decision by Lincoln National to buy back a reinsurance deal from Swiss Re in 2014 that put LNC on the hook for poor underwriting from 1999 to 2004.
“LNC has certainly witnessed a pickup in underwriting volatility since the time of the recapture, suggesting that the $200 million of capital freed up at the time has an ongoing cost associated with it,” Gallagher said.
Konen, seen here, is 57. He joined Lincoln Financial in 2006 as part of the company’s merger with Jefferson Pilot. Prior to the merger, he spent 12 years with Jefferson Pilot in a range of roles that carried increasing responsibilities.
“I have greatly enjoyed my time at Lincoln and I am proud of what we accomplished during my tenure,” Konen said. “While making the decision to retire was not easy, I step away with confidence that the company’s future is bright.”
“Mark has always been a trusted partner and a respected leader and, on behalf of the board and all Lincoln Financial employees, I would like to thank him for his many years of dedicated service and countless contributions,” said Dennis R. Glass, president and CEO of Lincoln Financial Group.
“During his tenure, the life and annuity businesses realized record growth, achieved industry leadership and became recognized for product innovation and responsiveness,” Glass said.
Gallagher said Konen’s retirement “comes as somewhat of a surprise and will likely lead to some questions around the performance of the biggest business that he was responsible for, the individual life insurance business.”
Gallagher said that while LNC’s individual annuity business has produced solid results over the last several years, the individual life insurance business has been inconsistent, including adverse mortality trends reported in the first and second quarters of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016.
The photo of Mark Konen that appears with this story is from lfg.com.
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