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This paper studies how private equity buyouts create value in the insurance industry, where decentralized regulation creates opportunities for aggressive tax and capital management. Using novel data on 57 large private equity deals in the insurance industry, we show that buyouts create value by decreasing insurers' tax liabilities; and by reaching-for-yield: PE firms tilt their subsidiaries' bond portfolios toward junk bonds while avoiding corresponding capital charges. Previous work on affiliated or "shadow" reinsurance and capital management misses the important role that private equity buyouts play as recent drivers of these phenomenon. The trend we document is of growing importance in the private equity industry, with insurance accounting for close to a tenth of all PE deals from 2010-2014.


insurance, private equity, reaching-for-yield, financial crisis