Insurers Inflating Books, New York Regulator Says

Mary Williams Walsh for The New York Times:

New York State regulators are calling for a nationwide moratorium on transactions that life insurers are using to alter their books by billions of dollars, saying that the deals put policyholders at risk and could lead to another taxpayer bailout.

Insurers’ use of the secretive transactions has become widespread, nearly doubling over the last five years. The deals now affect life insurance policies worth trillions of dollars, according to an analysis done for The New York Times by SNL Financial, a research and data firm.

At this point, anyone who argues against regulation of anything to do with financial markets can safely be disregarded as obscenely naive, or an idiot. Screw conservative ideology; lack of regulation, oversight, and transparency have either contributed to or directly caused every financial crisis we've had in my lifetime. (Via Glenn Fleishman)