INSURANCE: Victory for the Variable

The hottest fight in the insurance business rages around the variable annuity, which would match payments to the rise or fall in 'the cost of living. To do so, insurance companies would have to invest in common stocks to benefit from increased dividends in boom times when the cost of living is on the rise. While huge Prudential Insurance Co. plumped for the variable annuity, Metropolitan and others opposed it, arguing that a drop in stock dividends—and a cut in annuity payments —would shake public confidence in insurance. The Securities and Exchange Commission got into the act, contending that...

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