Study Shows We Need To Start Saving Longer For Retirement

Retirement PiggieIf you’re currently retired, chances are you worked hard to ensure that your retirement would be financially stable. For those who are currently working, this will be even more of a challenge. According to a new HSBC study, working people of today are expecting to spend much more time saving for retirement. Researchers interviewed more than 18,200 people across 17 countries either face-to-face or online. Through this research, HSBC discovered that workers in the U.S. now believe they will have to save for an average of three decades in order to feel financially secure for retirement. That’s seven years more than the previous generation had to save.

Investors have started to shift the way they think about retirement after seeing the challenges of those who have retired or who haven’t planned effectively for retirement. A large number of people in their forties are supporting other people, such as their children and their aging parents. These people and the people who are watching them are becoming aware that they need to take an active role in preparing for retirement.  

The UK’s citizens are especially concerned about their economic future after the Brexit. It is too early to decide what the long-term of the impact of the Brexit will be. That said, pre-retirees should always be ready for potential financial turmoil. In fact, global growth and an ageing population are causing concerns about the retirement of future generations all around the world.

HSBC’s research, which was conducted prior to the Brexit vote, shows that the U.K has pre-retirees expecting to save for an additional seven years, just like the U.S. The country whose working community is expected the struggle the most is China, where pre-retirees are expecting to save for an additional 14 years, bringing their total up from 9 years to 23 years.

The United Arab Emirates, France, Hong Kong, and Australia, are also expected to suffer, with each average working citizen planning to save for an additional 10 years or more. Indonesia, on the other hand, is the only country that doesn’t expect to save for any longer than it currently does.

In addition to an increase in the amount of time working people will need to dedicate to saving for retirement, there is also a shift in the ways that working people intend to save. Instead of traditional state pensions, workers are looking to alternative saving methods such as personal pension schemes, cash savings and deposits, and downsizing or selling property. Over a third of the working population stated that they wish they’d begun saving earlier on. Twenty-four percent said they hadn’t begun savings. This group included 12 percent of people in their sixties who were studied. However, the working population is getting overall more financially conscious. But this doesn’t mean they are free of worries. Forty two percent of people who are saving to prepare for retirement admitted to having stopped or having faced challenges.

While people save in different ways, it is important that individuals start saving for retirement as early as possible. In addition, it is important to get advice from professionals and to consider the essential retirement expenses. But the most important piece of advice for retirement savings is to always be prepared for ups and downs.

Lower Premium Volumes Don’t Stop AIG’s Profit From Rising

AIGFor the second quarter, American International Group Inc (AIG) posted a 6.3% increase in net income while it intentionally shrank the amount of insurance sold. This was all part of a plan to satisfy activist investors and to bolster returns. AIG also cut costs dramatically in order to bring down the expense ratio in its property-casualty insurance operations. This process allows AIG to follow through on a promise made in a January 26 strategy update.

Despite its valiant efforts, AIG’s operating income fell 41%. This was likely due to a sharply higher level of claims for catastrophes at a time when interest rates led to upward adjustments of certain claims reserves. At the time the interests were lower than in the year-earlier period.

The per-share operating result beat the consensus expectation of analysts. However, there will definitely be efforts to gain sight of ways that AIG can improve its sluggish performance in the stock market.

Analysts are hoping to get more detail on AIG’s promise to return at least $35 billion in share buybacks and dividends through 2017. This ambitious goal is likely to be filled partially from divestitures as well as possibly through a public offering later this year.

AIG has stated that it returned $3.2 billion of capital to stockholders during the second quarter and had purchased $698 million of common stock since the end of the quarter. Its year-to-date return of capital totals to about $7.9 billion. In a separate release, the board said that it would add $3 billion to its stock buyback plan.

Recently AIG has reported that the volume of selling casualty and property insurance to business clients decreased by 21%. This is AIG’s core area of business and was being monitored very closely. This decrease was mostly due to AIG’s choice not to renew policies in certain product lines that weren’t performing well. In addition, AIG refused to lower prices for potential buyers despite the fact that rivals were intensely competing for business.

In one year, AIG’s net income increased from $1.68 billion to $1.91 billion. To put it in terms of shares, that’s an increase from $1.32 a share to $1.68 a share. AIG recently received $928 million of gains from selling shares in PICC Property & Casualty Co. in China. In the same period of time, operating income decreased from $1.89 billion, which is $1.39 a share, to $1.11 billion, which is 98 cents a share. Analysts were predicting 93 cents a share.

In the earning release, AIG Chief Executive Peter Hancock stated that the results demonstrate a big step toward the goals set by AIG’s board in January. He also said that their confidence was high that they would hit financial targets set for 2017.

Messrs. Paulson and Icahn advocated a three-way split before they joined the board because they felt this would help AIG escape its designation as a “ systemically important institution” by federal regulators. This designation makes AIG subject to capital that is to-be-determined, as well as other rules.

Mr. Hancock still feels that a split is not in the best interest of the shareholders. In the January update, he promised to reorganize AIG’s life-insurance and property-casualty operations into nine units. He also promised to cut costs more sharply and to return more capital to shareholders and potentially sell any business that doesn’t performs suitably. There’s no telling exactly what will happen, but it looks like there’s an exciting year ahead for AIG.

Living Benefits

Insurance DefinitionMost people think of life insurance as something that is useful only after death. However, this is not always the case. There exists a life insurance option that can be used in the case of dealing with a chronic or terminal illness as well. This option is called Accelerated Death Benefits, or Living Benefits. The money involved in this life insurance policy is paid to the policy owner before death if he or she suffers from a chronic or terminal illness. It can be added to a current insurance policy at no extra cost, and helps patients and family keep on top of medical bills and be prepared for scenarios such as premature death. 

There are a various number of health-related circumstances that would qualify a policyholder for Living Benefits. For example, someone with a terminal illness, with a projected death date taking place in or under 24 months, is eligible. Additionally, any chronic illness that has been proven to reduce life expectancy would make a person qualified. It is important to note that such chronic illnesses would include medical conditions such as AIDS or heart disease. Another factor that would qualify someone for Living Benefits is if that person contracts some sort of illness that requires extreme measures to treat, such as an organ transplant. Also in the category of someone who can file for Living Benefits is an individual with a condition that necessitates long-term care, as he or she is no longer able to complete normal daily activities. Finally, Living Benefits are also available for those who live in nursing homes.

An Accelerated Benefits policy is adopted either by being added to your insurance premium, or included in a policy for a small amount of money. If the premium option is selected, your policy will not be cancelled, which is a fear for many who contract serious illnesses. It will not replace your long term benefits, so much as ensure that other life insurance savings will not be depleted by a need to pay for long term care. The money from this policy can be paid monthly or in a lump sum, depending on your insurance provider.

Of course, Accelerated Benefits are more often added on to certain life insurance policy over others. For example, Universal Life Insurance policies are more likely to have Accelerated Benefits added onto them than other insurance policies, as are several other permanent life insurance options. They may also be available through group term and permanent life policies. Accelerated Benefits are monitored very closely by insurance providers and come with qualifying conditions that trigger early payment.

In such uncertain economic times, it is necessary to maintain a certain level of financial control. Life insurance is here to protect against risks, and Accelerated, or Living, Benefits help families and individuals do just that.

For more information, head over to The Next Generation Insurance Agency, LLC.

5 Cases In Which Senior Citizens Might Still Need Life Insurance

It is easy to think that life insurance is of no use to you as you get older. Perhaps you are retired, own your home outright, and have children who are now self-sufficient. While many people get insurance as a way to protect themselves and their loved ones if they die prematurely, there are many other financial situations to consider. You also may want to reconsider the amount of life insurance you need and the cost of your policy, regardless of your age. Before you stop making payments, or you allow your policy to lapse, you should consider a few reasons why you might still need life insurance as a senior citizen.

1) If you have dependents

Whether it is a sibling, a younger spouse, a disabled or non-adult child, or even a parent, you may need to provide ongoing support for someone you love. The most common reason that an income-earner would need life insurance is that he or she has dependents who rely on him or her financially.

2) If you’re in debt or still have a job

You may want to consider life insurance if you are still making payments on credit card debt, student loans, or real estate deals. One highly recommended option is a term life policy, which expires when your payments end. This is a smart idea because it gives you coverage until you are debt-free. It also makes sense, if you are continuing to work, to supplement your savings, even if you’re only working a part-time job. You may require life insurance if your part-time job earnings are helping to meet monthly costs for anyone else. This depends on the amount you earn and the amount you need to save in order to make up income needs.

3) If you own an illiquid estate that is subject to taxes

Insurance will also be necessary if you have a family business, depreciated stock or valuables that you don’t want your family members to sell or pay taxes for inheriting. In this case, a permanent or cash-value life insurance policy is the way to go. These types of policies can provide your heirs with an immediate source of cash.

4) If you’re leaving behind a charitable legacy

Many people consider leaving a generous sum of money for their favorite organization or their alma mater. If you are planning on doing this, you can utilize a life insurance policy to help benefit you as well as the recipient. If you don’t want to make annual donations, you can leave a financial legacy with the help of a life insurance policy.

5) If you want another investment

If you have a lot of savings and tend to be risk-averse, cash-value life insurance can be an investment. Life insurance could be a great way to diversify your investment. The tax-free growth and advantages that come with life insurance are bound to be very helpful.

Life insurance doesn’t have to end for senior citizens. If you’re in one of these situations, it would be a smart idea to look into life insurance options that may be right for you.

Alphabet to buy AIG? Analysts think it’s a good idea.

American International Group, or AIG, is one of the nation’s leading insurance companies. Over the past several months, analysts from Citigroup have discussed the idea of a possible merger between AIG and Alphabet, the parent company of Google. On paper, connections between the two seemed unfathomable, but upon further inspection, the partnership could be a positive one. If Alphabet were to partner with a large investment bank and purchase the insurance company, they could turn it from various insurance policies to an insurance FinTech laboratory.

Founded in 1919 by Cornelius Vander Starr, AIG traces it’s roots back to Shanghai, China. Starting as American Asiatic Underwriters, the company expanded and, within the first two years of operations, evolved into a life insurance company. Within the next decade, various branches emerged throughout different parts of China and Southeast Asia, followed by the first official American opening in 1926. The company was renamed the American International Underwriters Corporation (AIU) and growth in Latin America occurred afterwards. The growth in these agencies was substantial, as World War II loomed on the horizon, which correlated to the decline of business in Asia. As a result of these historical events, AIU moved it’s headquarters to New York City from Shanghai, China after 20 years.

With its long history, AIG’s merger with Google seemed unlikely. Analysts acknowledged it was an event that most likely would not occur, but one that could benefit everyone. The copious amounts of data AIG owns could be appealing to Alphabet, while having a parent company to help protect AIG from battles that could arise over the upcoming years could benefit AIG.

According to an article published by Quartz, the analysts developed their proposal around two main points. The first was a modular finance model. This is would shift financial institutions from what they do – selling a portfolio of products to consumers – to using technology to develop offerings that were complex on a whim. The second addresses the lack of disrupting insurance companies. Many companies focused on tech shy away from companies that focus on insurance because of the strict regulations that come with their industry.

Alphabet obtaining AIG for their portfolio could address both points. There are several challenges if this occurs, such as issues with shareholders and banks, but it could be worth the risk. AIG’s CEO, Peter Hancock, spoke about how the company’s new modules. Nine in all, were based off Alphabet’s business structure.

 

London Market Sees Potential Use for Blockchain

The London Market, which is the major international insurance market in the United Kingdom, is undergoing plans to modernize. Part of that plan may include the use of blockchain technology, the main innovation behind Bitcoin, to improve data access and reduce the costs that come with administrative paperwork.

Lloyd’s, a key participant of the London Market held a seminar last week in London to highlight several technologies, including blockchain that could improve or otherwise innovate areas of the insurance market. It’s all part of their plan to modernize the experience of insurance market participants called the Target Operating Model.

Blockchains, which record transactions and protect Bitcoins from double spending, could be used to increase risk-recording abilities, transparency, accuracy and speed in the insurance markets.

Shirine Khoury-Haq, Lloyd’s director of operations told CoinDesk in a statement: “Blockchain has the potential to improve the way insurers record risk, increasing the speed, accuracy and transparency of our processes. As part of the TOM consultation we will be interested to see how blockchain could help us resolve some of the challenges facing our industry.”

Two use-cases for blockchain were floated at the seminar. The first was for blockchain-powered “deal rooms” wherein documents would be securely shared and logged. The second was for a permissioned ledger for insurance markets. The ideas were presented by Michael Mainelli, executive chairman of Z/Yen, a think tank and venture capital firm and a professor at Gresham College.

The so-called “deal rooms” would completely revolutionize the way business is done in the London Market. Currently, markets rely on physical proximity to one another, personal relationships and paper documents to get deals done. The use of a digital deal room could make the London Market more attractive to international business, which would drive significant growth for both Lloyds and the market itself.

“If we were sitting in Hong Kong right now and decided to create a global insurance market,” Mainelli added. “We could build a quick deal-room and we would automate it from the start.”

A deal room based on blockchain would take out the need to trust an intermediary while providing an accurate record of the documents shared by all participants. The database would be unalterable and owned by nobody. It’s simply an accurate ledger of who sent what to who and when.

Other technologies were presented at the Lloyd’s seminar including peer-to-peer lending and alternative cross-border payments. The goal of the seminar was to simply debate the risks and rewards of technological disruption. The Target Operating Model is a five-year plan to “support the ease of doing business” in the London Market and technological innovations like this could be an important step.