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Life insurers push for federal protections

Life Insurance and Annuities
by Lisa Jiang and Leon Langlitz
Life insurers push for federal protections
Life insurers push for federal protections

The sequestration saga has weighed heavily on millions of Americans as well as several industries and government agencies for some time now. As a result, there have been numerous lobbying efforts made in recent weeks that attempted to protect certain sectors, including those from life insurance issuers.

It should be noted that unlike most lobbying, those in the insurance industry don't want to promote specific legislation, but rather remind federal lawmakers about the importance of life insurance, according to a report from Life Health Pro. Many Americans rely upon such insurance policies to protect their loved ones in the event of a catastrophic or unforeseen event. In all, the coalition of life insurance, annuities, long-term care, and disability income insurance professionals - known collectively as Americans to Protect Family Security - have members of six major organizations related to those sectors.

Specifically, their hope is that they can convince the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation that the "inside build up" of their life insurance products should be protected in any future budget or tax reform agreements that are made, the report said. The committee currently classifies its exclusion as a significant tax expense, and it could face the axe unless lobbying efforts are successful. Not taxing inside build up could cost the government as much as $29.1 billion in the 2014 fiscal year, making it the 13th highest tax expenditure.

Dirk Kempthorne, president and chief executive officer for the American Council of Life Insurers, noted that some 75 million Americans are currently protected by life insurance policies, and altering federal rules toward these products could be problematic for those people. Life insurers, annuity issuers, and other such businesses in the coalition pay out some $1.5 billion on their policies every day, and savings placed in life insurance policies and annuities alone currently make up some 20 percent of all long-term savings nationwide.

"We think all good ideas should be on the table to address the nation's fiscal dilemmas," Kempthorne told the site. "But any proposal that suggests making it harder for American families to build their financial and retirement security should be left off the table."

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