Insurance Companies Next In Line For Taxpayer Bailout

Discussion in 'Economics' started by ByLoSellHi, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. Why not?

    Bail out everyone.

    Really. F**k it.



    March 26, 2009

    The insurance industry could be the next shoe to drop in the financial crisis, a big hedge fund warns.

    According to a report from Bridgewater Associates, a Westport, Conn.-based hedge fund with $71 billion in assets under management, insurance companies are looking a lot like what banks looked like a year ago as the assets they're sitting on continue to sour -- setting the stage for those companies to need a rescue of their own.

    "We think the insurance industry now is essentially where the banking industry was 12 months ago," according to the 5½-page report, which is distributed to a tight circle of clients and was obtained by The Post. Bridgewater officials declined to comment.

    "If things continue to spiral downward, at some point the Treasury or Fed will likely try to find a way to get capital to this industry," Bridgewater said in the note, which has ricocheted throughout the investment community.

    New York State Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo dismissed the notion that insurers were in imminent danger.

    "Right now solvency isn't a problem," he said. "I feel secure about the solvency of the companies and their claims-paying abilities."

    Nevertheless, like banks, an insurance-industry meltdown, could have far-reaching consequences. The sector is a big source of direct lending, and, according to Bridgewater, owns nearly half of all US corporate bonds.

    To be sure, many of the stresses facing the industry are no secret. Their stocks are down and American International Group, once the world's biggest insurance company, was on the verge of collapsing had it not been for $180 billion in federal aid.

    But Bridgewater said the worst of the insurers' problems have yet to emerge. It noted that the industry could be forced to come up with as much as $59 billion in fresh capital as a result of downgrades on assets these companies are sitting on.

    Insurers are also big owners of commercial real-estate loans, and that market is widely expected to falter as a result of corporate cutbacks and depressed office rents. Even a minor decrease in performance "will cause capital ratios to increase rather substantially," Bridgewater said.

    On top of that, Bridgewater projects the industry will have to shell out as much as $800 billion on so-called whole-life policies, which essentially are life-insurance policies with a savings component. Historically, during rough economic times, holders of these policies tend to draw down on money built up in these accounts whenever they're short on cash.
  2. TGregg


    Competition is hard. Easier to make money by hiring lobbyists, donating to campaigns and sending hookers to capital hill.

    Wanna join a growth industry and make some serious coin? Get yourself a good pair of kneepads and become a lobbyist.
  3. It's a damn growth industry, that's for sure.

    Forget the sciences, math, engineering - tell your kids their not valued anymore.

    The only thing that will secure their futures is learning the skills of professional liars and bagmen (bagwomen).
  4. Welcome to the new dark ages.