Life-changing deals

One of the insurance industry's fastest-growing business lines, variable annuities, has saddled life insurers with complex option-like exposures. How are risk management practices evolving? Jayne Jung reports


US life insurers have reaped decent rewards from sales of variable annuity products in recent years. Total sales of these products, which are in effect equity mutual fund-like investments in a tax-deferred wrapper, amounted to $160 billion last year in the US alone.

Increasingly, these products are sold with embedded riders - contractual features guaranteeing a lump-sum or income payments for the insured person or their beneficiaries, irrespective of underlying investment performance.

From the

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