Permanent capital—investment funds that do not have to be returned to investors on a timetable, or at all—is, according to some, the “holy grail” of private investing.1 Permanent capital owes its exalted status to the time and effort that managers can save on fundraising, and the flexibility it provides to invest at times, like a crisis, when other forms of capital can become scarce.
The trend is not new: private investing in insurance dates back more than 50 years to Berkshire Hathaway’s acquisition of National Indemnity in 1967. As that example shows, many forms of insurance beyond life and annuities can serve as permanent capital, including specialty and property and casualty (P&C). In this article, however, we’ll focus on the reasons why many PE firms have concluded that life insurance and annuities represent a once-in-a-generation opportunity. We’ll also look at the requirements for PE firms on the sidelines that want to enter the market, discuss some overlooked ways that PE owners can create value, and highlight some implications for life insurers as they consider either selling a portion of their book of business or emulating and competing with this potent new industry force.
Author(s): Ramnath Balasubramanian, Alex D’Amico, Rajiv Dattani, and Diego Mattone
Publication Date: 2 Feb 2022
Publication Site: McKinsey