Product Development

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...

Mark Warshawsky on the Retirement Income Market

Mark J. Warshawsky is Director of Retirement Research at Towers Watson.

Dr. Warshawsky served as assistant secretary for economic policy at the U.S. Treasury Department from 2004-2006 and he has held senior level economic research positions at the Federal Reserve Board, the Internal Revenue Service and...

Short-Term Focus has Adverse Impact on Retirement Income Product Development

Warren Buffett’s most recent shareholder letter focuses on the merits of productive assets such as equities in light of the current low interest rate environment and the potential for future inflation.

Buffett’s view is that although productive assets are variable and volatile, they are more likely to preserve future purchasing power than the fixed or currency-based alternatives.

Buffett’s advice would seem to provide a...

Retirement Income Product Comparisons Proving Difficult

Investment News columnist Darla Mercado wrote an interesting piece of the difficulty of making meaningful comparisons among annuities and related retirement income products. Mercado focuses on the challenges created by the lack of benchmarks in the retirement income industry. Unlike the investment industry where benchmarking and transparency of product features are standard, lifetime income products are opaque and complex. Mercado examines the defined contribution plan sponsor market where...

SOA Paper Examines Retirement Income Reality Gap

A recent paper sponsored by the...