Buying Life Insurance? The Industry Is Being Transformed. What You Need to Know.

A growing number of U.S. life insurers—small, midsize and some of the industry’s biggest household names—have sold or announced they will sell their U.S. consumer life-insurance and annuity businesses.

Most are selling to a nontraditional type of owner: private-equity firms, asset managers, hedge funds and other investment entities. Some of the industry newcomers are buying entire insurers, or units of big ones, while others have taken stakes in insurance companies.