Insurance: Mutual Interest

With the average length of retirement now 13 years, the threat of inflation means that the cash value of a family's life insurance could well prove inadequate to its old-age needs. As a hedge, more and more Americans are turning to mutual funds, which, after all, promise growth instead of fixed returns. Rather than fight the swing to mutuals, the insurance industry itself is enthusiastically joining it.

A year ago, some 20 U.S. life-insurance companies were in the mutual-fund business. Today, the number exceeds 50. Last month Boston's John Hancock became the...

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