Why the life insurance industry did not face an “S&L-type” crisis

Link: https://econpapers.repec.org/article/fipfedhep/y_3a1993_3ai_3asep_3ap_3a12-24_3an_3av.17no.5.htm

PDF link: https://econpapers.repec.org/scripts/redir.pf?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.chicagofed.org%2Fdigital_assets%2Fpublications%2Feconomic_perspectives%2F1993%2Fep_sep_oct1993_part2_brewer.pdf;h=repec:fip:fedhep:y:1993:i:sep:p:12-24:n:v.17no.5

Full reference:

Elijah BrewerThomas H. Mondschean and Philip E. Strahan

Economic Perspectives, 1993, vol. 17, issue Sep, 12-24



In most states, coverage under guaranty

funds is $300,000 in death benefits, $100,000 in

cash or withdrawal value for life insurance,

$100,000 in present value of annuity benefits,

and $100,000 in health benefits. Some states

cover all insurance policies written by an insol-

vent firm located in the state; others cover the

policies of residents only. In the case of unallo-

cated annuities such as GICs purchased by com-

panies to fund pension plans, some states cover

up to a certain amount, usually $5 million. Oth-

er states, such as California, Massachusetts, and

Missouri, do not cover GICs.

Because of variations in state guaranty

funds and in the way insolvencies are handled,

the parties bearing the costs of an insurance

failure differ across states. Surviving insurance

companies initially pay their assessments and

claim them as an expense on their federal corpo-

rate income tax return, reducing their federal

income taxes. As companies receive tax credits

in subsequent years, these credits become tax-

able income. As a result, the federal government

bears part of the cost of an insolvency since it

does not fully recover the present value of the

tax decrease granted in the assessment year. In

states with premium tax offsets, however, the

majority of the cost is paid by state taxpayers.

A study of 1990 life/health guaranty fund assess-

ments found that 73.6 percent was paid by state

taxpayers, 8.9 percent by federal taxpayers, and

17.5 percent by the equity holders of the surviv-

ing firms.

Author(s): Elijah BrewerThomas H. Mondschean and Philip E. Strahan

Publication Date: September 1993

Publication Site: Economic Perspectives, Chicago Fed