Assets held by life insurers back the companies' life, annuity, and health liabilities. Accumulating these assets, via the collection of premiums from policyholders and earnings on investments, provides the U.S. economy with a important source of investment capital.
At the end of 2010, life insurers held $4.8 trillion in total assets. Life insurers' represent one of the largest investors in U.S. capital markets:
- Life insurers are the single largest source of bond financing for American business, holding 17% of all U.S. corporate bonds.
- Life insurers invest in American business for the long-term. More than 33% of bonds held by life insurers had a maturity of more than 20 years at the time of purchase. More than 60% had a maturity of more than 10 years.
- Of the $769 billion in government bonds held by life insurers, the overwhelming majority, $740 billion, were in long-term obligations.
- Life insurers provide long-term capital to the commercial mortgage market, financing more than $299 billion, or 9.5%, of U.S. commercial mortgages.