Another Insurer to Cease Selling Life Insurance to Individuals

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The company, spun out of Dutch giant ING Groep in 2013, on Tuesday said it would cease new individual life-insurance sales at year-end. It will keep its existing block of life-insurance policies and pay out claims as they come due.

The move follows the withdrawal by MetLife Inc. from sales of new life policies to individuals last year. Then the largest U.S. life insurer by assets, MetLife hived off much of its U.S. retail life-insurance operations into a new company named Brighthouse FinancialInc. Brighthouse became a publicly traded company in August of 2017.

Both Voya and MetLife continue to sell life insurance to employers through group-benefit arrangements. But those and many other insurers face a sluggish environment for selling these policies directly to American families, many of whom are more concerned about outliving their savings than dying prematurely. Voya has a large business selling 401(k) and other tax-advantaged retirement-savings programs.

Voya’s chief executive, Rodney O. Martin Jr., said in its third-quarter earnings release that the move to quit selling new life-insurance policies to individuals is in line with the company’s “strategy of largely focusing on the workplace and institutional clients” through retirement, investment-management and employee-benefits offerings. He added that these are “higher-growth, higher-return, capital-light businesses.”

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