Commentary: Insurance Showdown: Who's Right?Andrew Osterland and Susan Jackson
Insurance may never be the same. Prudential Insurance Co.'s Feb. 12 announcement that it would convert from policyholder ownership to a stock company will likely accelerate the trend away from the traditional mutual form--largely to gain access to capital markets. But there is a hot debate over the best way to do it. Most insurers have transformed into stock companies. But under legislation passed in 15 states and the District of Columbia, mutuals could create holding companies and could sell as much as a 49% stake in their operating businesses to public shareholders. Big mutuals back the idea while some publicly owned insurers and consumer groups object. The outcome could have an enormous impact. Andrew Osterland and Susan Jackson debate the issue.
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