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HC2 still wants long-term care insurance blocks

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Continental Insurance Group lost money in 2016, but it still wants to make deals with long-term-care insurance issuers.

Phillip Falcone, the chief executive officer of HC2 Holdings Inc., the parent of Continental Insurance, says HC2 is maintaining significant LTCI servicing capabilities in Austin, Texas, as the Continental Insurance home office, to support future growth.

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“I think it really gives us a leg up over the competition, as it relates to long-term care, for people to know that their portfolios will be run in-house, and not be outsourced,” Falcone said last week, at a conference call with securities analysts.

HC2 — a midsize, New York-based conglomerate — held the call to go over fourth-quarter and 2016 earnings.

HC2 owns subsidiaries that do everything from installing cables on the ocean floor to distributing natural gas motor fuel. The company as a whole reported a $67 million net loss for the fourth quarter on $454 million in revenue, compared with a net loss of $12 million on $360 million in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2015.

HC2 hired James Corcoran, a former New York state insurance superintendent, to set up Continental Insurance in April 2015. The company closed on acquisitions of two blocks of LTCI business at the end of 2015.

Continental Insurance now has 87 employees servicing LTCI policies for 93,000 people.

The unit reported an $812,000 operating loss in 2016 on $142 million in revenue, compared with a net loss of $176,000 on $2.9 million in revenue in 2015.

About $71 million of the unit’s $79 million in 2016 earned premium revenue came from LTCI policies. The rest of the revenue came from blocks of life insurance and annuity business acquired along with the LTCI business.

Continental Insurance hopes to expand further by buying closed blocks of LTCI policies, reinsuring LTCI coverage, winning contracts to administer other companies’ blocks of LTCI policies, and acquiring LTCI issuers.

In investor presentations, HC2 says the Continental Insurance effot to invest in the LTCI and life insurance sectors fits with the HC2 strategy of “taking advantage of dislocated and undervalued operating businesses.”

Falcone said during the conference call that one reason for optimism about the LTCI unit is regulators’ changing attitude toward LTCI rate increase requests.

In 2016, in Texas, one increase turned out to be bigger than the company had hoped. Originally, the reserves for the LTCI policies looked about $8 million weaker than they had in 2015. The premium increase was enough to make the reserves look $11 million better than they had looked in 2015, according to HC2′s 2016 financial report.


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