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Life Insurance Companies With Banks

Life insurance companies that hold federally chartered banks and thrifts stand to benefit from reports Wednesday that a government bailout is coming.

Life insurance companies that hold federally chartered banks and thrifts stand to benefit from the government's reported readiness to open its bailout coffers to the sector.

Insurance stocks

soared after

The Wall Street Journal

reported Wednesday that the Treasury Department was soon expected to announce it would make available Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, money to life insurance companies that own banks or savings and loan institutions with federal charters.

This would exclude life insurance companies holding banks with state charters, such as

Unitrin

(UTR)

, which holds

Fireside Bank

of Pleasanton, Calif. and

Wellpoint

(WLP)

which holds

Arcus Financial Bank

of Salt Lake City.

Here's a list of publicly-traded insurance holding companies, with at least some life insurance business, that hold federally chartered banks and thrifts. The list was provided by SNL Financial, and is expected to be updated within the next day or so.

Of course, in light of all the federal assistance to

American International Group

(AIG) - Get American International Group, Inc. Report

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, it would be very unlikely for the company to receive further assistance for its life insurance business, but you never know.

In November,

Genworth Financial

(GNW) - Get Genworth Financial, Inc. Class A Report

,

Hartford Financial

(HIG) - Get Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (HIG) Report

and

Lincoln Financial

(LNC) - Get Lincoln National Corporation (LNC) Report

applied to the Office of Thrift Supervision for thrift holding company status.

TheStreet.com

questions about the potential size of

TARP infusions to the insurance companies

, based on the size of the thrifts being acquired.

We also wondered why, if the government determined it was necessary to bail out large life insurers, it would limit assistance to companies that had purchased banks or thrifts. Frank Mayer III, an attorney with of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney specializing in advising companies on relationships with governments and government agencies, said at that time that the Treasury had "made a decision that aligning insurance companies into federal oversight is a good policy," and that the agency would only provide capital if the companies were "willing to become part of a federally regulated regime."

The specific limitation to life insurance holding companies holding

federally

chartered banks and thrifts points to a major step in the evolution from an insurance industry almost exclusively supervised by the states, to federal regulation of the industry.

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Philip W. van Doorn joined TheStreet.com Ratings., Inc., in February 2007. He is the senior analyst responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. He also comments on industry and regulatory trends. Mr. van Doorn has fifteen years experience, having served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Florida, and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Long Island University.