First, we learned last week that Prudential has decided to suspend the sales of their PruLife UL Protector product. This was a universal life policy with growth based on interest rates, and with rates so low the company states that "we have decided that we can no longer offer UL Protector in a way that provides strong consumer value and prudently supports our business objectives."
Translated to English, that means that the low interest rates were not sustaining the policy enough, which would have probably led to premium increases that would have made the policy less competitive price wise. Given that there are still potential claims to be paid on "in force" policies, Prudential decided to cut their losses.
Another recent victim in the insurance industry isn't an insurance carrier, but an ancillary paramed exam business, EMSI. One of the major players in home health exams for insurance companies, the downturn in volume has forced them to shutter their doors, and their website.
According to a press release, they ceased operations on July 3, 2020 and stated that "COVID-19 has disrupted families, communities, and businesses in our country and around the world. EMSI has become a casualty of these unprecedented times, as the pandemic has severely depressed service volumes. As a result, all company operations ceased on Friday July 3, 2020. We are thankful for all our customers and to EMSI staff and partners for their service to EMSI and its clients."
In recent years, several insurance companies have used less paramed exams due to the cost and have made changes in their underwriting requirements. One of our carriers doesn't require an exam for any of their policies with a face value of under $250,000 for younger applicants. They have also put in a limit for their disability plans. This eliminates a lot of exams, and in turn, overhead. The nurses who work for these companies are usually freelancers and get paid only when they do the tests. Luckily for a few of them, they can contract with various companies at once.
Like I mentioned earlier, in the short term neither of these changes will have an impact on you as a potential buyer. You can still apply great life insurance plans and go through the normal underwriting processes. However, if the current situation with Covid-19 persists, and if economic conditions continue as they are, we will see more changes like these in the insurance business, as well as in the other businesses that are connected.
One of our jobs at Surf Financial Brokers is to stay on top of these changes so you don't have to. Just as you would want your doctor to stay up-to-date on medical issues, you would want us to be informed as much as possible when it comes to your "financial wellness". We do our homework and know that you want to deal with a professional organization.
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Chris Castanes is the president of Surf Financial Brokers, helping people find affordable life and disability insurance coverage. He's also is a professional speaker helping sales people be more productive and efficient and has spoken to professional and civic organizations throughout the Southeast.