As companies have slowly moved their retirement plans from defined benefit pensions over to defined contribution plans, thereby shifting the risk onto individuals, they have gotten away from offering insured products to help protect employee assets. The situation has begun to shift back, however, as corporations increasingly look to the expertise of insurers to manage longevity risk in the DB plans and begin to offer guaranteed lifetime income products within their DC plans, according to a report by Prudential.

Individuals also are looking to insurance products to protect them against the possibility of outliving their retirement savings.

"While most plan sponsors have become attuned to the investment risk that is inherent in their pension plans, longevity risk is a significant, yet often underestimated risk which cannot be addressed through investment strategy. Longevity risk is real, not theoretical, as the retired lifetime of the average U.S. male has increased 34 percent over the last 40 years. For females, the increase has been 20 percent over the same period. Despite this increase in longevity, widespread awareness of longevity risk within DB plans is still lacking. However, that is very likely going to change," the report stated.

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