Congressional Action Adds Full Estate Tax Repeal to Life's
Insurance Chronicle (06/04/01) Vol. 12, No. 23 p.1; Postal, Arthur D.

Insurance experts are doubtful the full phase-out of the estate tax will occur, and they believe the long-term effects on the life insurance industry will be manageable even if the estate tax is abolished. Prior to congressional passage of President Bush's tax bill, LIMRA International issued a report predicting a billion dollar annual tax on the life insurance industry if the phase-out took place. The core of the report centered on the impact the full repeal of the estate tax would have on the sale of survivorship. LIMRA concluded that if survivorship sales ceased altogether and were replaced by other sales, new premiums for the industry would probably fall off by about $1 billion. However, the report's author, Elaine F. Tumicki, was quick to note that the findings are based on a worse-case scenario and an improbable one at that. Tumicki noted that not all survivorship life is sold for the purpose of paying estate taxes. Sometimes the product is used for estate equalization, wealth replacement, and in some business situations, she added. Furthermore, she said in the report, the repeal of the estate tax will not eliminate the need for estate planning, which "will likely result in needs for and uses of individual life insurance."

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