Life Insurance Expenses: Breaking Through the Edge of Efficiency


Mike Warner  
Conning, Inc.

Conning Research: Dramatic Decline in 2009 Life Insurance Premiums Highlights Importance of Long-Term Expense Control

(Hartford, CT) March 16, 2010—Life insurers’ 2009 results underscore the need to better analyze and understand their expense base, and to take actions on a more consistent basis, according to a new study by Conning Research & Consulting.

“Life insurer profitability has been squeezed by declining premiums and low investment yields,” said Terence Martin, analyst at Conning Research & Consulting. “Of course, in this environment, expense analysis and control are of paramount importance to senior management. Yet our analysis indicates that those insurers who focus on expense management consistently through up and down markets are the consistent high performers.”

The Conning Research study, “Life Insurance Expenses: Breaking Through the Edge of Efficiency” explores individual life insurance expenses, analyzes how much economies of scale and product mix influence a company’s efficiency, and how much is more directly under the influence of management.

“In analyzing individual life companies, we identified the low-cost companies and reviewed their approach to expense management,” said Stephan Christiansen, director of research at Conning. “Our analysis indicates that scale appears to matter less than management may believe. Instead of trying to grow out of their inefficiencies, insurers that outperform use a rigorous and consistent approach to expense analysis and control to ensure long-term profitability.”

“Life Insurance Expenses: Breaking Through the Edge of Efficiency” is available for purchase from Conning Research & Consulting by calling (888) 707-1177 or by visiting the company’s web site at

About Conning Research & Consulting

Conning Research & Consulting is a division of Conning, a provider of asset management and insurance industry research and advisory services to insurers.  Conning Research & Consulting has published independent insurance industry research for 50 years, including market coverage of 30 segments of the industry in addition to industry forecasting and identification and analysis of major strategic issues. As a result of its wealth of experience and intimate knowledge of the insurance industry, Conning understands industry challenges and opportunities and provides in-depth analyses on a wide range of industry products and issues. Conning is headquartered in Hartford, CT.