Over two billion people, or nearly 30% of the world’s population, are overweight or obese. It would be convenient to see this grim statistic as the inevitable by-product of the improved quality of life and economic success being enjoyed by more people in more countries. The fact is, however, obesity is taking a huge toll on society, in economic as well as in health terms.
The pace of change can be dizzying in many aspects of life and industries, but rarely in the life insurance industry. One example, the life insurance industry, keeps using similar financial assumptions for income replacement sales, with carriers making few material changes to their underwriting approaches.
Life insurance companies continue to recalibrate in the face of new regulations, evolving technologies and customer expectations, and more. Of great concern are new regulations at both federal and international levels as well as the possibility of tax policy changes for industry products. Another year of low interest rates is the most difficult challenge of all.
LifeHealthPro Senior Editor Warren S. Hersch recently interviewed Doug French, a New York-based managing principal of the Insurance and Actuarial Advisory Services of Ernst & Young LLP. The interview explored initiatives identified in EY's “2015 U.S. Life Insurance Outlook” report the professional services firm believes should be top priorities for life insurers in 2015. The following are excerpts.
Fifty-seven percent of financial executives believe an outside source (Google, Amazon, etc.) will be a disruptive force in the life insurance market within the next 5 years according to a new LIMRA report.
In many ways, the life insurance and annuities industry is on more solid footing entering 2015 than it has been for quite some time. Economic growth is improving and the unemployment rate is steadily falling, which should create a more conducive environment for carriers to market their products and services.
But fundamental challenges — some new, some ongoing — are keeping industry executives on their toes.
Millennials expect companies to enable them to interact and buy online, for their websites to make everything easy and convenient. Yet relatively few companies make it possible for them to complete the entire purchase process online. Further, only 46 percent of life and annuity companies provide electronic signatures for customer service transactions. It seems clear that in many cases, companies are not meeting Millennials’ expectations.
Application activity for individually underwritten life insurance closed 2014 off -0.6% YTD from levels observed at year-end 2013, according to the MIB Life Index. December’s activity increased +2.6% year-over-year.
Pseudodementia is a term that describes specific types of reversible dementias. It is primarily associated with depression, but can be due to other causes as well. This article distinguishes pseudodementia from true dementia, discusses pseudodementia’s causes, characteristic signs and symptoms, diagnosis and treatments, and covers its most important mortality concerns.
NASH affects between 2 and 5 percent of Americans and is not always a benign disease or an incidental finding. Along with hepatitis B and hepatitis C, it is attracting large amounts of research dollars in the study of its prevention and treatment.
Mitral regurgitation, or mitral insufficiency, is the second most common form of valvular heart disease, after aortic stenosis. It’s a heart valve disorder that occurs when the mitral valve does not close properly during ventricular systole (contraction).
Prospects are generally upbeat in 2015 for providers of life insurance and annuities in the US. Insurers can expect to build upon recent improvements in annuity sales, as credit rates continue to increase and customers return to simplified, tax-deferred products. Life insurance sales will benefit from rising levels of consumer confidence and personal wealth, both driven by the ongoing economic recovery and expectations for gradual increases in interest rates.