According to the American Council of Life Insurers’ Life Insurance Factbook 2021, around 5% of all in-force life insurance policies in the United States lapsed last year. Given that the total amount of life coverage in force at the end of 2020 was approximately $20.4trn, you don’t need to be a maths whizz to work out that amounts to around $1trn worth of cover that pretty much vanished, save those that received a nominal surrender value from the carrier.

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Insurers are favouring funded re as it helps firms manage the market and longevity risks associated with writing bulk purchase annuity (BPA) business by reducing capital charges and therefore making PRT deals more competitive. 

Unsurprisingly, given its growth and potential for capital optimisation, UK regulators have been carefully watching the increased use of funded re. In June 2023, the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) sent a “Dear CRO’ letter to heads of risk at UK life insurers.

The letter outlined the regulator’s two main concerns from a sectoral review which it had carried out.

“One of the key risks arising in funded re is that firms recapture sub-optimal portfolios with depressed values and with limited ability to be transformed effectively to the firms’ preferred portfolio,” the PRA letter said.

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