Filed Under:Annuities, Suitability

Iowa’s friendlier watchdogs lead insurer pack to Des Moines

(Bloomberg) -- After Symetra Financial Corp. was formed in 2004, the life insurer set up shop in a 25-story glass tower outside Seattle, put its name on the building and pushed the state to adopt more favorable rules for its business.

The company advocated for a law to reduce its cost of investing in derivatives, saying that without the change it might have to move somewhere more welcoming. The bill languished in the Washington state legislature last year, and in January Symetra made good on its promise. It said it would switch the legal domicile of its main life insurer to Iowa.

 

Consumers First

Fidelity & Guaranty, which is controlled by Philip Falcone’s Harbinger Group Inc., made the switch to Des Moines in November, after Maryland regulators rejected as too risky the company’s proposal to transfer some liabilities to an affiliate. The company said at the time that the ruling wasn’t the reason for the switch. Maryland later approved a smaller, revised transaction.

In its most recent quarterly filing, Fidelity & Guaranty said one of its affiliates, reinsurer Raven Re, benefits from Iowa’s rules on such transfers. Without Iowa’s dispensation, the unit’s capital levels would fall below regulatory requirements, according to the filing.

 

‘Sophisticated’ Approach

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Nichole Morford

Nichole Morford
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