The Case for Mutual Insurance Companies

The best interests of financial services consumers are much better aligned with a mutual insurance company than a stock insurance company.

Mutual insurance companies are owned by policyholders. Owners of an insurance contract issued by a mutual company are both customers and owners of the insurance company.

Stock-based insurance companies are owned by shareholders, so their focus is divided between customers and shareholders.

Mutual insurance companies are a form of cooperative where individuals voluntarily associate to form an organization that serves the mutual...

No Time for Guarantees

The concept is seductive: a financial product that provides upside exposure in the event that equity markets trend up and to the right while also providing a floor of protection in case the bottom falls-out from under markets again.

Sort of like having your cake and eating it too. Very tempting in light of the massive financial uncertainty that has existed for the past several years.

Products playing into this “upside plus protection” theme include (but are not limited to) variable annuities with guaranteed...

Why Fixed Annuities Could Prove Toxic in an Era of Financial Repression

In a recent and highly recommended Bloomberg op-ed, Carmen Reinhart discusses the options available to governments and central banks when attempting to deal with the burden of enormous amounts of public and private debt.

Reinhart suggests that the preferred policy option for many governments--including the United States--is a form of stealth taxation that amounts to...

Why is the Growth in Health Spending Considered a Problem?

Consumer discretionary spending is the major driver of the U.S. economy as household purchases make-up about 71 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).

Without growth in consumer spending, the economy would most likely go nowhere.

Since economic growth is generally considered a good thing, it stands to reason that we should be looking for things that contribute to consumer spending.

An interesting piece of research from an economist at Credit Suisse shows that health spending has been the...