(Bloomberg Gadfly) --Insurance companies are running out of ideas.

They've bolstered their balance sheets since the financial crisis but have few racy growth prospects in a world of low interest rates, pricing pressure and regulatory hassles. Big mergers may be the most tempting route to scale and cost-cutting opportunities -- think Standard Life-Aberdeen or NN Group-Delta Lloyd -- but they're often difficult to execute. They also don't answer fundamental threats to the business model, including the arrival of new tech-savvy competitors.

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