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Primerica CFO: Higher life mortality seen in Q2 not part of broader trend

Primerica Inc. CFO Alison Rand brushed off concerns over higher mortality and lower-than-expected term life persistency on a call to discuss second-quarter earnings.

Although this was the second consecutive quarter with higher life mortality and lapses, Rand said the figures showed normal quarterly volatility as opposed to a broader trend. The company expects mortality to revert to normal experience in the second half of the year, she said.

"Our [yearly renewable term] program continues to effectively safeguard against any significant claims related volatility," Rand said. "While we've seen some recent fluctuations in persistency and mortality, the term life business continues to produce steady and predictable long-term earnings."

Looking forward, Rand expects remaining headwinds in term life persistency to be offset by other favorable term trends that the company has seen recently, including yearly renewable term reinsurance rate reduction and the spread of expenses over a larger premium base.

Primerica took several steps to prepare for the June 9 partial implementation of the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule, CEO Glenn Williams said. These included implementing a new representative certification process, increasing documentation and internal oversight and raising the minimum account size for a number of products.

Ahead of the full implementation of the rule, the company expects some positive tailwinds as other competitors look to move away from Main Street, he said. Although Primerica is not currently seeing any benefits, Williams said they are committed to meet the needs of the average consumer, and less competition in that market could lead to future opportunities.