Welcome to the post-meltdown insurance market, where guarantees are golden—and priced accordingly; where volatility is a four-letter word for investors and insurers alike; where de-risking has become an imperative for many insurance companies; where investors value downside risk protection as much or more than upside potential; where insurers are tossing aside old pricing models and embracing new, more flexible schemes.
Needless to say, keeping up with the latest supply-side developments with annuities, life insurance and long-term care insurance is a major undertaking. To help you stay a step ahead, here’s a look at some of the products and features that have insurance industry observers buzzing.
Income annuities are another hot annuity product, having posted an 18% sales gain in the fourth quarter of last year and a gain of nearly 7% for all of 2011, according to Beacon Research. "Income annuities generally provide the most retirement income bang for the buck," says Alexander. "Sales results indicate that advisors and their clients are becoming aware of how these products can be used to create a personal pension.
Despite the premium surge in 2011, "Variable universal life is now more of a niche market," says Ho. "Consumers just are not interested" in riskier life insurance products. As a result, VUL is losing market share to products like indexed UL.
Long-Term Care Insurance