Tag Archives: long-term care

Using Data to Improve Long-Term Care

In the last 20 years, the insurance industry has rapidly become one of the most data-driven and complex industries in our global economy. With the advent of wearable technologies, improved data-collecting capabilities and the increasing dominance of behavioral economic theories, insurance companies are inundated with data. Used well, these large sums of data can greatly benefit insurance companies and consumers. Returns on policies will increase, along with efficiency, while risk and overall costs will decrease.

However, using all this data well is extremely difficult and requires years of work and expertise. Through my more than 25 years of actuarial and statistical modeling experience, I have seen insurance companies use data well, increasing their profitability in the process. Big data can be a significant asset for insurance companies over the next 100 years, or it could bog down the industry, exacerbating issues that are currently affecting companies across the globe. All this really depends on how the insurance market adapts to and uses big data today, in the early stages of this big data era.

See also: Understanding New Generations of Data  

My current focus is the application of behavioral psychologies to build predictive models to maximize the effectiveness of insurance technologies in the design of new products. Insurance is becoming mediated more and more by mobile, wearable and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. As generations become more connected through media technologies, leveraging media psychology, actuarial science and data science will be vital to the predictive future of insurance. This is particularly true with regards to attracting new, younger customers to life insurance and other insurance products. Young people are demanding a customer experience centered on quick and easy app-driven solutions over traditional, slower, life insurance models.

There is great potential for the long-term care industry to benefit from innovative technologies that leverage big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence. For example, home care can be improved through the use of robotics and interactive telehealth technologies to mediate the interaction between patients and medical professionals in real time, improving patient outcomes. Wearable technology to monitor biometrics, other than steps, in real time can instantaneously inform of a pending health event requiring medical attention. Big data and computing power are exploding at factorial rates, enabling algorithms to search for significant correlations in seconds rather than months, and the difference has proven to be life-saving. However, it is critical to understand how these algorithms work to prevent abuses of consumer protections.

The GIS advanced regulator training will equip regulators with a conceptual understanding of the machine learning algorithms leveraging big data being used to develop consumer insurance rates. They will learn how to test the appropriateness, power and validity of these statistical modeling tools against the data companies that are using it to build pricing algorithms and fuel AI algorithms. Regulators will also receive training in how to interrogate data for completeness and how to identify hidden biases that may unfairly discriminate against consumers. This training will also engage regulators in discussions of the ethical use of big data, machine learning and AI in preparation for a future where insurance is nearly 100% mediated by technology.

See also: Healthcare Data: The Art and the Science

Companies will have to become good digital citizens and work with regulators to ensure an industry that fosters innovations beneficial to consumers without compromising legal standards and the ethical treatment of all consumers. A future of insurance mediated by big data, predictive algorithms and AI will have great benefits for the human experience. The industry and regulators through cooperative efforts can ensure this promising future for consumers.

I will be moderating the “Can Big Data Save Long-Term Care” breakout panel on Wednesday, April 24, and am organizing and leading the big data and advanced modeling training on April 22-23 and April 25-26 at the 2019 Global Insurance Symposium in Des Moines. To register to attend GIS please go to: https://globalinsurancesymposium.com/register/

A Really Important Role for Agents

Agents have a crucial role protecting their clients, but not just by providing the right coverages. Do not get me wrong, selling the right coverages is of paramount importance for professional agents (and I don’t know what amateur agents are even supposed to do).

Another key service professional agents can provide clients is protecting them from insurance companies. A great example is reading forms, yes–actually reading forms, to distinguish whether coverage actually exists! I think cyber might be an excellent generic example of verifying true coverage is actually being provided or if true coverage just appears to exist.

See also: 5 Predictions for Agents in 2018  

Another example, and a great way to prevent E&O claims, is careful policy checking on E&S policies. By and large, surplus lines does not have to provide the coverages promised in their proposals. Neither do they have to notify agents or insureds at renewal if they reduce coverages. This is why they include their disclaimer stating they do not have this responsibility. It is one reason this is surplus lines and not an admitted market. An insured will not know the coverages have been stripped without careful review, and, even then, they may not understand. I know far too many agents who do not understand, so I don’t know why anyone should expect the normal insured to understand. This is a job for professional agents!

A third example is provided by a recent court case. Joseph Beith provided the details in his blog (and if you care about insurance companies treating insureds fairly, I highly recommend you subscribe to his blog). A long-term care (LTC) provider included a sentence (used by at least one other carrier, too) that, “Your premiums will never increase because of your age or any changes to your health.” My bet is that 95 out of 100 insurance veterans would not recognize the problem with this “guarantee.” Beith recognized and pointed out the problem. The guarantee does not prohibit the company from raising rates on a class basis (and, as people age, their class ages).

If an agent has a choice of selling two policies, one with this tricky language and another without it, then, all else being equal, even if the policy without this language is more expensive, a professional agent will point out this crucial language issue. Insurance policies are, after all, legal contracts, so policy language matters, A LOT!

This is maybe an extreme example of arguably (and it is arguable since it is part of a large lawsuit) crafty language, but important differences exist between carriers’ policies in virtually every instance. Whether it is simply a material difference in ordinance and law limits between two homeowners policies or huge contractual liability differences between two policies, professional agents will point out the differences. Doing so is crucial to helping insureds understand that insurance IS NOT a commodity when sold by professionals (again, I don’t even know what to call insurance when sold by amateurs other than disasters waiting to happen).

Pointing out differences in coverage shows clients you are actually working to help them rather than just working to make a buck. Pointing out differences gives clients the power, and, if they have the power, your relationship will likely be much stronger over time. Conversely, when they feel screwed because they were not educated and given the opportunity to choose, they are more likely to sue you or at least tell everyone they know not to do business with you.

See also: 4 Ways to Improve Agent Experience  

A problem with LTC and life insurance is that, when the events that trigger a claim occur, the agent may be long gone. P&C policies typically have a shorter lifespan, meaning more ramifications, good and bad, for professional agents. A good professional agent who makes these distinctions with good clients can achieve considerable success. I am not sure about the future of people selling coverages they do not know and do not communicate to clients. The future for absolute professionals is, however, so bright they will need shades.

Time for a ‘Nudge’ on Long-Term Care

For years, the go-to approach with clients for discussing long-term care insurance (LTCi) solutions has been from an educational perspective. The idea was that if we could just get a prospective customer to lower his guard long enough to understand the strong statistical rationale or risk in favor of LTCi, the decision would become clear to him, and coverage would be purchased.

As logical as all that sounds, maybe our logic is flawed? The reality we’re facing in the LTCi industry is that this approach is likely not the most effective way to lead Americans into action on LTCi. What we’ve experienced is that, despite our best efforts and compelling factual arguments in favor of LTCi, adoption rates have consistently hovered around 8%, which corresponds with the percentage of the population that is predisposed to long-term planning by nature.

So why isn’t the traditional approach to planning for LTCi working for the other 92%? The answer, it turns out, might be found in some fascinating recent research into “behavioral economics,” which considers economic decision making from a psychological perspective. Best-selling books such as Nudge (Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein) and Thinking Fast and Slow (Daniel Kahneman) have explored the ramifications of this fascinating topic.

The idea is that people really don’t act rationally, as classical economics assumes. Instead, people are motivated to act based on their emotions and impulses. Moreover, the choices we make are very dependent on how options are presented to us.

See also: Can Long-Term Care Insurance Survive?

Companies and governments have recently used the findings of behavioral economics to try and “nudge” people to take actions. For example, more companies now auto-enroll employees in 401(k) plans and make them opt-out if they don’t want to join. The result has been a big increase in 401(k) participation. Another finding—that too many choices lead to inaction—has led to a narrowing of investment options. Similarly, “default” choices, such as target date funds, are now part of many 401(k) plans.

Here are six ways in which the findings of behavioral economics can help improve your closing rate when doing LTCi planning with clients:

  1. Keeping choices as simple as possible. As an adviser, you may think your job is to give a possible buyer multiple options for planning for care, such as spread sheeting several insurance carriers or comparing standalone and linked products. However, the reality is that consumers don’t want this—they want a recommendation with just a few choices. Share your due diligence, but limit the information to what you consider the best options for them to consider.
  2. Focus on the possible gain LTC will provide instead of the possible loss. Research has shown that, just like gamblers, we all want to win, and we don’t like to think about losing. People who are considering LTCi don’t want to think about loss when planning for care, such as how their retirement savings may be depleted. Instead, focus on the fact that a small LTCi premium gives the policyholder the possibility of a big payoff in benefits. For example, a $2,000 annual premium could result in $300,000 to pay for high-quality care at home.
  3. Use stories, not statistics! Statistics are important for discovering trends and insights, but they are awful when used for discussing LTC planning. People are way too optimistic about their future and think they will be on the winning side of a statistic. Focusing on stories and experience that motivate prospects is much better than using statistics that can destroy empathy when talking about planning for LTC.
  4. Focus on “now” benefits, not the future.  It’s incredibly difficult for people to imagine aging and needing help. Instead, focus on the “now” benefits of LTCi.  The now benefits are more difficult to quantify, but they can include peace of mind, good health underwriting and locking into a lower premium before a birthday.
  5. Help guide heuristics (rules of thumb). For analytical advisers, it’s tempting to use tools such as cost-of-care surveys that project the cost of care 40 years in the future when designing plans. A better approach is to “follow the crowd” and recommend benefits similar to what policyholders are actually buying. You may think people want customized solutions, but most would feel more comfortable picking options similar to other buyers. Recommend they do what most people are doing.
  6. “Nudge” a choice.  When people have to make a decision, such as actively signing off on the fact they have been offered LTCi but declined, they will be more likely to buy. LTC planning is easy to delay, and people need motivations to keep them from delaying the decision forever.

See also: Long Term Care Insurance: Group plan vs Individual

Behavioral economics is a controversial topic, but we think it offers an important critique of the way we have traditionally approached LTCi planning with prospective clients. Employing some of its findings might move us beyond the 8% threshold of highly motivated long-term planners to help the remaining 92% of the population engage in meaningful consideration of their long-term care needs.

Can Long-Term Care Insurance Survive?

Why are long-term care insurance premiums rising faster than a speeding elevator? And what will become of the long-term care insurance marketplace? If you are interested in long-term care insurance, what’s going on and what may happen, read on.  If you have no interest in long-term insurance, then this is not the article you are looking for. (The next edition will take a closer look at the insurance consumer Bill of Rights).

Why Would Anyone Want Long-Term Care Insurance?

One of the largest projected expenses for the average American in retirement is medical expenses, with estimates approaching a total of $250,000.

Medicare and Medicare supplements provide coverage for medical expenses that are typically short-term or one-time, such as an annual physical, medical test or surgical procedure. Long-term care insurance provides coverage to pay the costs of service such as nursing home, in-home care and skilled nursing facilities that are not covered by Medicare or Medicare supplements. These costs are quite high—hundreds of dollars a day.  To see what the average cost of care in your area is, visit the Genworth Cost of Care page here.

The odds of needing some form of long term-care insurance can reach 50% or more, with an average claim period of two to three years (depending on the statistics you look at). According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), by 2020, about 12 million Americans will require long-term care.

See Also: What Features of Long-Term Care Should You Focus On?

Long-term care insurance premiums will typically be in the thousands of dollars a year. However, just like with any other type of insurance, it is about the leverage of protecting against a risk—a simple financial calculation: Can you afford to pay for the risk in the event of a claim out of pocket and can you afford to pay the premiums? In terms of leverage, if you have a long-term care insurance policy with a total benefit pool of $250,000 and an annual premium of $5,000, the annual premium is 2% of the total benefit pool. If 2% sounds like good leverage to you, this policy makes sense.

The Big Question: Why Are Long-Term Care Insurance Premiums Rising? 

There are multiple layers to this questions, but the main underlying factor is that the first long-term care insurance policies offered by insurance companies had unlimited benefit periods on a type of coverage where they had minimal historical data. Think about it this way: If I offered you a bet on a football game this weekend with the provision that, if you win, I’ll pay you $100, and, if I win, you’ll pay me a $1 a month for the rest of my life. Now, that’s a great bet for me if my team consists of all-pros and your team consists of benchwarmers. Without knowing who is on your team, would you make this bet? There’s no need to answer; of course you wouldn’t.  Yet this is exactly the bet insurance companies made, just with much bigger numbers. And, unsurprisingly, this business model hasn’t been profitable for them.

There are some other major factors to consider, such as the prolonged historically low-interest-rate environment where insurance companies have not been able to make their historical investment returns. (This is something that no one could have foreseen.)

Another major factor is that insurance companies counted on a certain percentage of people lapsing (terminating) their policies at some point. Again, the insurance companies made this prediction without much historical data. And guess what? Policy owners actually liked and valued the coverage they purchased, and they have kept their long-term care insurance policies in force, despite some significant rate increases.

Premiums have had to be increased because, at the end of the day, it is in everyone’s best interest for insurance companies to be profitable. If an insurance company is not profitable, it will go out of business and will not be able to pay claims, which is definitely a problem.

Rate Increase Oversight and Perspective

Rates for in-force policies have been increased and will almost certainly face future increases; older policies still are priced lower than what a current policy would cost. Premium increases on long-term-care insurance policies have to be approved, in most states, by the state insurance commissioner. When faced with a rate increase, policyholders will need to consider whether their benefit mix makes sense and fits their budget. These are the “visible” rate increases.

If you have a long-term care insurance policy with a mutual insurance company where the premium is subsidized by dividends, you may not have noticed (or been informed) of a reduced dividend scale. When an insurance company reduces its dividend scale, it does not have to get approval from anyone or disclose that it has reduced its dividends. Reduced dividends mean a higher premium. This is a hidden rate increase.

As mentioned, policies issued today have significantly higher premiums than those issued in the past. Some rate increases are attributed to companies “catching up” on premiums to get closer to current premiums they hope are more accurate. The bottom line is that insurance companies are trying to bring the premiums on older policies into line with their current pricing on new products. The closer that pricing gets, the less likely it is there will be future premium increases. So, if you have an older policy (even if you’re faced with a significant premium increase), keep in mind you’ve gotten a discount on past premiums. While that’s not comforting in the face of a premium increase, it will help put things into perspective.

Insurance departments will approve premium increases so that they are sufficient to meet anticipated claims. Any increase granted must apply equally to all policy owners from the requested class of policies, and the carrier must keep the policy in force if the premium payments are made. Changes in age or health have no bearing on the contract premiums once issued; the policy may only be canceled if premiums are not paid. Nearly all existing long-term-care insurance policies have had one or more rate increases granted.

Please keep in mind that rates on other types of insurance also increase over the years, some slowly like auto insurance and homeowners insurance and some rapidly like health insurance.  Inflation affects everything. There are no nickel candy bars any more. This is all about the value of the coverage and the leverage of your premium to the total benefit pool.

Options When You Have A Premium Increase

When you have a premium increase, you should always start by reviewing your coverage and deciding whether you still need the current coverage or whether you can make changes. For example, because the average claim period is two to three years and there is a much longer benefit period, is the trade-off in premiums for the longer benefit period worth it? It is important to understand that, once a change is made, it cannot be undone, so be sure you are comfortable with any modifications.

The following are options when you have a premium increase:

  • Pay the increased premium.
  • Reduce the daily/monthly benefit amount.
  • Increase the waiting period.
  • Shorten the benefit period.
  • Change the inflation rider 
(e.g. go from compound to simple or reduce inflation percentage from 5% to 4%).
  • Change/remove other riders.
  • Terminate the policy.
  • If your policy has a non-forfeiture benefit that allows for a “paid-up reduced benefit,” consider this option: You’ll get at least some value for the premiums you’ve paid. But remember, once you accept the option, the policy will not be reinstated. Some states are now requiring all new policies to include this feature. (It’s relatively rare in older policies.)

New Long-Term Policy Designs (Hybrid/Combination Products)

With all the issues in the traditional long-term care insurance marketplace, there are very few companies selling individual long-term care insurance policies. Instead, insurance companies have come out with whole new types of products: hybrids and combinations. For instance, you can purchase a life insurance policy or an annuity with a long-term-care insurance rider. Other options are a life insurance policy or annuity that is combined with a long-term-care policy. (Rather than the long-term-care insurance being part of the rider, it is part of the policy.)

While, in theory, these sound like great ideas, they ignore some simple facts:

  • There may be no need for life insurance or an annuity, but you will be paying for the life insurance or annuity in addition to the long-term care insurance component.
  • Some require an up-front lump-sum premium payment.
  • These policies are complex and opaque. There are multiple variables to these policies that the insurance company can change and that will affect the performance of the policy—many of which do not have to be disclosed to the policy owner and do not show up anywhere. The more complex the product, the greater the chance that something won’t work properly.

Considering that insurance companies are still working on accurately pricing long-term-care insurance products and that universal life insurance policies are having issues (see: Will Your Life Insurance Policy Terminate Before You?), it is hard to imagine that combining two problematic products will magically work out.

The big selling point for these policies is that, with a traditional long-term-care insurance policy, the policy owner does not get anything back if there is no claim made. However, there is no expectation with any other type of insurance (except for life insurance) that there is a return if a claim does not occur, and most homeowners, for example, are happy when their house doesn’t burn down even though they don’t get any payout from their insurer.

Lessons Learned and a Positive Outlook For Long-Term Care Insurance?

There is no doubt of the importance of a thriving private sector long-term-care insurance marketplace. Public policy would seem to favor long-term-care insurance paid for by the private sector.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is increasing the amount people may deduct from their tax returns this year when buying long-term-care insurance or paying monthly premiums. Check out the IRS page on long-term care Insurance premium deductibility here .

The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) released its first set of recommendations calling for increasing access to the private insurance market. BPC initiatives call for increasing access to the private insurance market, improving public programs such as Medicaid and pursuing a catastrophic insurance approach for individuals with significant long-term-care needs such as Alzheimer’s or a debilitating physical impairment. These proposals were developed by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle along with Bill Frist, another former U.S. Senate majority leader, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary and Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson and Alice Rivlin, the former director of the Office of Management and Budget. They aim to address the needs of America’s seniors and specifically target middle- and lower-income individuals and families. Daschle said, “Today, families and caregivers are becoming impoverished by the financial demands of long-term care … Since there is no single, comprehensive solution to solve this unsustainable situation, our strategy calls for a combination of actions that could help ease the extraordinary financial burdens Americans are facing.”

If the BPC has its way, these retirement long-term-care policies would be sold on federal and state health insurance exchanges. The question is whether this can be accomplished. Part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare), the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program established a national, voluntary insurance program for purchasing community living services and supports that is designed to expand options for people who become functionally disabled and require long-term help. Unfortunately, this program was abandoned because it wasn’t financially feasible.

History repeats itself

Back in the 1980s, insurance companies made similar poor product design decisions with individual disability income insurance. Unsurprisingly, claims experience was not great, and a number of companies left the marketplace. Is this sounding familiar?  The current individual disability insurance marketplace has returned with more sensible products, where the companies do full underwriting, offer benefits that are less than earnings and do not guarantee the premiums. A great read on this is: IDI Déjà Vu: Optimism For The LTCI Industry, by Xiaoge Flora Hu and Marc Glickman.

The long-term-care insurance industry is making similar changes to its products, which should buoy the marketplace. Products are being priced based on actual experience, policies are being fully underwritten and unlimited benefits are no longer available.

Smarter product design, better risk selection and a strong need should result in a solid long-term-care insurance marketplace. As America continues to age, there will be a stronger need for the coverage. It may take a few years, but there is a future for long-term-care insurance. The only real question is when.

Let me know what you think.

A Risk-Free Life Insurance Policy? (No)

Is your life insurance policy risk-free?

At its core, a cash-value life insurance policy consists of three components: interest rates/dividend rates, mortality costs (cost of insurance) and expense charges. And, over the last 10 years, interest rates have been at historic lows. They are often lower than the guaranteed interest rates on universal life insurance policies.

Something has to give.

Insurance companies traditionally have invested their funds in debt-related investments (mostly bonds). As insurance companies are not earning enough interest to meet the projected interest rates on universal life and other cash value life insurance policies, they have had to lower the interest rates they credit to their policy owners. On some of these older policies, the guaranteed interest rate is higher than what the companies are earning, so the insurance companies are losing money on interest rates.

See Also: How to Reach Millions With life Insurance

What happens when insurance companies lose money? Well, they’re not charities, so they look for the money in other places. Some companies have been able to make up some of the difference by changing their investment portfolio; however, by regulation, they are restricted in what they can invest in to some degree. 

Why Am I Reading About Universal Life Policies Terminating? 

Keeping in mind that almost every universal life insurance policy is crediting the guaranteed minimum interest rate, the insurance companies really only have one other component they can change to continue to maintain profitability. And that’s the mortality costs, also known as the cost of insurance.

A number of companies have recently announced increases in their mortality costs, though they do not typically disclose what the actual change is (dollar amount or  percentages). These companies include AXA Equitable, Banner Life, Security Life of Denver, Transamerica Life, Voya Life and William Penn Life. It is important to note that the companies are only raising mortality costs on some universal life policies, not all of them. 

It is highly likely that other life insurance companies will follow, especially if there are no repercussions (regulatory, media, consumer, etc.).  

Universal life insurance policies were originally promoted and designed to be transparent life insurance policies where the components were unbundled and, therefore, could be monitored. Transparency has not been the case — changes to mortality rates are not usually disclosed, — and changes in mortality rates can have a more significant impact on the performance of a universal life policy than a reduction in interest rates. 

If you have a whole life policy, you may be thinking, “Well, I’m safe, I’m getting my dividends.” Dividends are tricky. Companies with whole life policies have reduced dividend scales, but this is usually not disclosed anywhere—you just receive lower dividends. On a whole life policy where your original projection was to pay premiums for X number of years, you’ll find yourself paying premiums for much longer periods without ever being told. Most people don’t realize their premium payment periods have been significantly extended. 

Also, you won’t be building up the cash value that was on the original projection, so if you bought a policy using the “Missing Money concept,” “Be Your Own Banker concept” or a similar concept, you are almost certainly not going to end up where you expected. (This is setting aside the issue of whether these concepts really make sense, but that’s a topic for another newsletter/article.)

What’s This Mean for You? 

If you have a cash value life insurance policy, especially one purchased more than 10 years ago, your policy has a very high chance of terminating without value. To avoid this unwanted outcome, higher premiums are needed on almost every older universal life policy (traditional universal life, variable universal life or indexed life), basically on any life insurance policy where the premiums are not fixed. And if your premium is guaranteed, such as on a whole life policy, you may be paying premiums for significantly longer than expected or will be receiving a lower cash value.

“So,” you ask, “why hasn’t my insurance company or insurance agent told me about this?” Good question. The answer could be any or all of the following: The insurance companies are not facing facts; the insurance companies would prefer to not face the issue; the insurance company does not realize the issue exists; the agent doesn’t understand the problem; or the regulatory system is not addressing it yet. 

This is definitely a matter of concern because life insurance companies are not detailing the impact on premiums and the life of the policy. And companies are not required to do so; nor are they even required to notify policyholders of increases in their costs of insurance (mortality costs). 

How Do I Find Out About My Policy? 

Recently, Bottom Line Personal interviewed me for a story on this topic: “Your Life Insurance Policy May Be Terminated.”

As mentioned in the interview, the only way to determine the impact of this increase in mortality costs is through an in-force illustration. An in-force illustration is a projection of future values based on current assumptions. The Insurance Literacy Institute has free “Insurance Annual Review” guides that include a form letter to request in-force illustrations in the Resources Section. 

Your in-force illustration request should include a projection based on current premiums and assumptions, along with a request for the required premium to continue your policy to maturity (maximum length). The difference in premium may be significant.

What Should I do? 

A couple of things to consider are your health and life expectancy as well as your current need for life insurance. Most people find they don’t have a need for permanent life insurance because they have other assets they accumulate and that replace the need for life insurance. Remember, life insurance is for protecting those who are financially dependent upon you.

If you do need your life insurance policy, consider if you can pay the higher premium that would be required to keep your policy in force to maturity, or consider if a reduced death benefit would meet your needs.

You should also take a look at the ratio of premiums to death benefit. If you’re paying in 10% of the death benefit each year in premiums, then the policy doesn’t provide you good leverage.

Surrendering the policy is an option to consider, especially if there is a sizable surrender value.

See Also: Bringing Clarity to Life Insurance

Another option is selling a policy in the secondary marketplace (life settlement), though this needs to be approached carefully.

Big Question: 

How many other companies have increased their mortality costs, and how many other policies are affected?

The Future: 
Whether interest rates increase and when they do so and whether insurance companies are able to start to increase their investment earnings will determine whether insurance companies will maintain or increase their cost of insurance.   
The most concerning news came from Transamerica, which issued an announcement that illustrations requested by policyholders will no longer include information about the current cost of insurance rates or interest rates. Yes, that’s right. Policyholders with Transamerica will, possibly, not be able to have any idea of the premium required to fund their universal life policies. However, according to a recent report, Transamerica may have changed its mind.
The future is up to us. If we start to treat cash value life insurance as the complex investment vehicle it is and start to carefully manage it, there will be positive outcomes. If we continue with the current approach, lack of education and disclosure, more policies will terminate, and there will be significant negative consequences for policy owners and their beneficiaries.