As Insurance Failures Go, This One Could Be Worse

For weeks, the question festered: Who's next? First Executive Corp., a 1980s highflier, had crashed in April, followed by the collapse of First Capital Holdings Corp. Then, on May 30, came the next victim in the Great Insurance Shakeout. Massachusetts regulators took over Monarch Life Insurance Co., once a thriving seller of investment-oriented life insurance. While the problems at the other two insurers stem from overreliance on junk bonds, Monarch's millstone is more typical: bum real estate investments.

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