Why are life insurance companies regulated by the government?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: May 2, 2012

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Insurance companies are entrusted with huge amounts of money — in the $50 Billion to $200 Billion range in the case of the largest life insurance companies, such as the Prudential Insurance Company of America, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and New York Life Insurance Company . The insurance business thus is “affected with the public interest” and regulated in an effort to ensure that the public and its funds are dealt with honestly, and to prevent the insurers from taking unwarranted risks with the money they are holding.

The primary purposes of insurance regulation historically have been (1) to maintain the insurers’ financial solvency and soundness so they can carry out their long term obligations to policyholders and pay claims, and (2) to guarantee the fair treatment of current and prospective policyholders and beneficiaries by both insurers and the people who sell their policies.

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