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Across My Desk: Insurance companies licking their chops

When it comes to making money, insurance companies sure know what they're doing. Take, for instance, the Baby Boomers. Here's a crowd that wants a guarantees in one fashion or another regarding their investments when they retire and who better to supply that than the insurance industry.

Christopher "Kip" Condron, the U.S. chief of SA says: "Banks and mutual funds can't offer these kinds of guarantees. So we looked at the situation and said, 'This is our era.'"

Companies looking at Boomers and hoping to cash in selling them their products include AXA, Hartford Financial Services, Metropolitan Life Insurance, American International Group, Aegon, ING and Allianz.

"Life expectancies seem to be going up everywhere," says AXA Chief Executive Officer Henri de Castries. "That has huge long-term implications and should be a huge opportunity for us."

For those who might not be a fan of insurance products, creating a portfolio of high-quality long-maturing bonds can also provide you with income for life. Bonds held to maturity pay income twice a year and then their face value comes back to you.

How about that for a sweet old-fashioned idea.

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