Trends in Life Insurance 2022: How the Industry Has Changed




Growing popularity in no-medical-exam life insurance products has had one expected outcome: More life insurance policies with accelerated underwriting options available in the marketplace. For example, Policygenius offered just three accelerated underwriting options in 2020. In 2021, that number more than doubled to seven, and more options will likely be available in 2022.

Additionally, while such policies had historically only been available to applicants who were young and in good health, the competitive market has prompted more widespread availability. Now, applicants across all health classes can get no-medical-exam policies.

While no-medical-exam policies tend to be about the same cost as fully underwritten policies, applicants tend to favor them even when they are more expensive due to the convenience and expedited turnaround time.

Author(s): Nupur Gambhir

Publication Date: April 2022

Publication Site: Reinsurance News, SOA

All Men Must Die, But They Don’t Have to Die in Office




What’s interesting about the Senate age distribution is that though we have some difference in the lumpiness, when I look at the average age of the senators by party, they’re basically the same: 64 years old (and some change). On the younger end of the Boomers.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 29 April 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Breaking News: Central States Filed




The first 34 plans that filed requested a total $8.4 billion in bailout money from the PBGC Special Financial Assistance program for troubled multiemployer plans. No press release but the PBGC weekend update showed one new plan – the Central States, Southeast & Southwest Areas Pension Plan with 364,908 participants which is asking for $35 billion dollars.

Author(s): John Bury

Publication Date: 29 Apr 2022

Publication Site: burypensions

Severe hepatitis of ‘unknown origin’ in children being investigated in Canada




Public health officials say they’re investigating cases of severe liver disease “of unknown origin” among children in Canada as global scientists race to understand a mysterious hepatitis outbreak that has affected nearly 200 youths around the world.

“The Public Health Agency of Canada is aware of reports of severe acute hepatitis of unknown origin in young children in Canada,” the department said in a statement on Tuesday, in response to questions from CBC News.

“These are being investigated further to determine if they are related to cases in the United Kingdom and the United States. As the investigation evolves, we will keep the public updated accordingly.”

The latest available data from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows at least 169 cases of acute hepatitis of unknown origin have been reported in close to a dozen countries, with the bulk of the reports — 114 — from the U.K. 

Author(s): Lauren Pelley

Publication Date: 26 April 2022

Publication Site: CBC

1 death, 17 liver transplants in multi-country outbreak of hepatitis in children, WHO says



At least 169 cases of acute hepatitis in children aged one month to 16 years old have been identified in an outbreak that now involves 11 countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday.

Among the cases of acute hepatitis, at least one child has died and 17 children have required liver transplants, the WHO said in a news release.

“It is not yet clear if there has been an increase in hepatitis cases, or an increase in awareness of hepatitis cases that occur at the expected rate but go undetected,” the WHO said in a statement. “While adenovirus is a possible hypothesis, investigations are ongoing for the causative agent.”

Author(s): John Bonifield, Emma Tucker

Publication Date: 23 April 2022

Publication Site: CNN

I Finance The Current Thing



Passive investing is most often celebrated as a marvel of risk/reward packaging for the retail investor, who surely doesn’t have the time or energy to do the job of a professional capital allocator. It’s a fair assumption that they have their own job doing something productive in the real economy. Is this arrangement worth sacrificing? Would sacrificing it be ESG-friendly? Yes, absolutely it would, but we will return to this further down.

Passive investing relies on the notion of an index, or, a numerical weighting of every publicly listed company in a given geography, above a certain size, etc. which is determined by relative size and expressed as a percentage of the whole. If the value of all shares outstanding multiplied by their current market price (or, “market capitalization”) of Company A is 1% of the total of all the companies in an index, then it makes up 1% of that index, and its shares are 1% of those held by a passive investment instrument.

The existence of indices is the bane of the lived experience of investment professionals who take Schumpeter a little more seriously and do not allocate by algorithm but by analysis of business fundamentals. “Performance” is measured relative to an index, on the understandable but perverse realization that index investing, which relies only on an algorithm, is much cheaper for the client. If your non-passive (or “active”) manager returned you 50%, you might think that is fantastic, but if the index went up 60% then you paid for nothing. In fact, technically they underperformed by 10%. No performance fees — even on 50%! — and probably also fired.


When SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce voiced the lone dissent against the inclusion of “climate risks” in company prospectuses recently, her argument was basically my own above: these are risks. Although the concept is incredibly technically involved, real investors know how to deal with risks and do not need to be condescended to about which deserve their attention more than others. “We are not the securities and environment commission,” Peirce warned, adding, “at least not yet.” Quite right. I would hope not ever if the rule of law is to be taken seriously, and exactly this kind of regulatory capture via backdoor-compliance enforcement of virtue signaling is to stop.

But could we probe deeper still? ESG is an attack vector, but what is the attack surface? Without intending to be flippant, I think it is centralization. Capital markets are centralized institutions and they are being attacked. So far, so bleak. Can we do anything about it? And what was that Thiel talk actually about, again?

Author(s): Allen Farrington

Publication Date: 21 April 2022

Publication Site: Medium

8 New Social Security Bills in Congress Now



Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, pressed House leaders Tuesday to pass the Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust Act, H.R. 5723, which adopts the consumer price Index for the elderly as the basis of the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) and applies the payroll tax to annual wages above $400,000.

“I wish to indicate our strong support for H.R. 5723 – Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust and encourage its prompt floor consideration this Congress,” Jayapal told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Monday in a letter.

The bill, Jayapal wrote, “increases benefits across the board at a time of higher inflation, protects low-income seniors, widows and widowers, ends wait-times for those with disabilities needing support and more. Crucially, it is paid for by making millionaires and billionaires pay the same rate as everyone else by ensuring the payroll tax is applied to wages above $400,000.”

She urged Pelosi to move the bill to a vote in the House “as soon as possible.”

Author(s): Melanie Waddell

Publication Date: 21 April 2022

Publication Site: Think Advisor

Measuring U.S. Fiscal Capacity using Discounted Cash Flow Analysis



PDF link:


We use discounted cash flow analysis to measure a country’s fiscal capacity. Crucially, the discount rate applied to projected cash flows includes a GDP risk premium. We apply our valuation method to the CBO’s projections for the U.S. federal government’s deficit between 2022 and 2051 and debt in 2051. In spite of low rates, our current measure of U.S. fiscal capacity is lower than the debt/GDP ratio. Because of the backloading of projected surpluses, the duration of the surplus claim far exceeds the duration of the outstanding Treasury portfolio. This duration mismatch exposes the government to the risk of rising rates, which would trigger the need for higher tax revenue or lower spending. Reducing this risk by front-loading the surpluses also requires major fiscal adjustment.

Author(s): Zhengyang Jiang, Hanno Lustig, Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh & Mindy Z. Xiaolan

Publication Date: April 2022

Publication Site: NBER

DOI 10.3386/w29902


To Ease Pain at the Pump, Help People Avoid the Pump




I scanned and inventoried the policies proposed or implemented at the state level according to publicly available information in media outlets and found that bills to suspend gas taxes have been introduced in at least 20 states and bills to provide residents with tax rebates, credits, or stimulus payments have been introduced in at least 16 states. At least three states—California, Connecticut, and Hawaii—are considering policy solutions that offer alternatives to driving.

California’s governor is proposing, among other things, to make public transit free for three months and to make additional investments in pedestrian and biking infrastructure. Connecticut passed a bill that suspends public bus fares for as long as their excise tax on gas is suspended. And Hawaii’s legislators are proposing subsidizing nonmotorized vehicles.

Connecticut (part of the same bill that suspended bus fares), Georgia Florida and Maryland have already approved gas tax suspension policies, and Delaware Idaho Illinois , and New Mexico have approved policies that provide tax rebates or credits.

Author(s): Jorge González-Hermoso

Publication Date: 18 April 2022

Publication Site: Urban Institute

Here’s Why Cutting Gas Taxes Doesn’t Work When Prices Soar




A new report from the Urban Institute catalogs state-level responses and finds that 20 different states have introduced legislation to suspend gas taxes, which are often used to fund infrastructure projects. (Florida, Georgia, and Maryland have already passed gas tax holidays.) There are 16 states considering legislation to provide payments to residents — in the form of tax rebates, credits or stimulus checks — to counteract pain at the pump. Only three are considering changes to help people avoid driving: California, Connecticut, and Hawaii.

“Of the three main categories of policy solutions we could be considering, cutting gas taxes is the worst,” says Jorge González-Hermoso, research associate with the Urban Institute. “It’s very popular, it will get you headlines, but it only creates a simulation that the government is providing a solution.”

González-Hermoso says the problems with gas tax holidays start with the premise that they help consumers. The average gas tax across all states, he reports, is 31 cents a gallon or 7.75 percent of the average price. By one estimate, a driver would have to use 20 gallons of gas a week to save just $30 over the course of Maryland’s one-month holiday. There is no guarantee that station owners wouldn’t pocket the difference, and keep prices roughly the same.

In addition to being ineffective, this policy imperils future infrastructure projects. State and local gas taxes comprise 26 percent of highway spending and often contribute to mass transit as well. They also have the disadvantage of incentivizing driving, as residents in nearby jurisdictions try to take advantage and local consumers know relief is contingent upon buying gas.

Author(s): Jake Blumgart

Publication Date: 26 Apr 2022

Publication Site: Governing

Global government debt set to soar to record $71 trillion this year, new research says



Global sovereign debt is expected to climb by 9.5% to a record $71.6 trillion in 2022, according to a new report, while fresh borrowing is also broadly set to remain elevated.

In its second annual Sovereign Debt Index, published Wednesday, British asset manager Janus Henderson projected a 9.5% rise in global government debt, driven primarily by the U.S., Japan and China but with the vast majority of countries expected to increase borrowing.

Global government debt jumped 7.8% in 2021 to $65.4 trillion as every country assessed saw borrowing increase, while debt servicing costs dropped to a record low of $1.01 trillion, an effective interest rate of just 1.6%, the report said.

However, debt servicing costs are set to rise significantly in 2022, climbing around 14.5% on a constant-currency basis to $1.16 trillion.

Author(s): Elliot Smith

Publication Date: 6 Apr 2022

Publication Site: CNBC