William Byrnes' Tax, Wealth, and Risk Intelligence

William Byrnes (Texas A&M) tax & compliance articles

Court Nixes Carrier’s 300% Premium Increase

Posted by William Byrnes on March 7, 2011

Although supervising the cost of insurance embedded in life insurance premiums has historically been the domain of state insurance commissioners, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has intervened in one recent case, ruling on January 19 that Conseco Life Insurance Co. cannot increase the premiums it charges 50,000 of its existing policyholders.

The premium increase was part of a plan by Conseco to reduce its long-term losses. Rather than post reserves, Conseco looked for a way to reduce its future liabilities by $173 million. They targeted two blocks of universal life policies that had lower than expected lapse rates, using a pricing formula that would explode the cost of insurance charged in the policies’ 21st year after issuance. Customers who’d held the affected policies longest would have seen their premiums increase in 2010 or 2011.  Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For previous coverage of another carrier lawsuit in Advisor’s Journal, see Carriers Targeted by Suit Over Losses on Madoff Investments (CC 11-06).

For in-depth analysis of the income taxation of life insurance, see Advisor’s Main Library: A—Definition of “Life Insurance” For Income Tax Purposes.

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