Bridge over ocean
1 September 1966 Financial Analysts Journal Volume 22, Issue 5

Only a Matter of Money

  1. Shelby Cullom Davis

With interest rates the highest in four decades, life insurance earnings are being benefited. Money, in fact, is both the raw material and end product of life insurance. This industry’s companies are also benefiting through reinvestment of funds invested 20 and 25 years ago at sharply lower levels. The sales outlook is the best in history, with the coming boom in family formation; mortality, at dead center for the past decade, seems destined to improve since better health and longevity have become a national goal with Medicare and Medicaid just beginning to exert influence; and operating expenses should continue to trend downward due to increased automation and better computer usage. Premium rates have declined, which is good business practice and helps public relations. Profit margins on ordinary insurance — the most profitable—have not been impaired, and in many cases, have improved. A standard for adjusting life earnings would be desirable and it is hoped that A. M. Best & Co., leading insurance statistical authority, will undertake this before long, just as it has performed a similar job for fire-casualty adjusted earnings more than two decades ago. Price times earnings ratios have declined sharply, more than 50% during the past 27 months. The Great Society, at home and abroad, should keep the demand for long term money high. No group will benefit more from continued high interest rates than life insurance companies.

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