This excerpt taken from the ALL 10-K filed Feb 24, 2005.
We are subject to market risk and so changing interest rates and declines in credit quality may have adverse effects
Because we have large investment portfolios, we are subject to market risk, the risk that we will incur losses due to adverse changes in equity, interest, commodity or foreign currency exchange rates and prices. Our primary market risk exposures are to changes in interest rates and equity prices and, to a lesser degree, changes in foreign currency exchange rates. For additional information on market risk, see the "Market Risk" section of MD&A.
A decline in market interest rates could have an adverse effect on our investment income as we invest cash in new investments that may yield less than the portfolio's average rate. In a declining interest rate environment, borrowers may prepay or redeem securities we hold more quickly than expected as they seek to refinance at lower rates. A decline could also cause the purchase of longer-term assets in order to obtain adequate investment yields resulting in a duration gap when compared to the duration of liabilities. An increase in market interest rates could have an adverse effect on the value of our investment portfolio, for example, by decreasing the fair values of the fixed income securities that comprise a substantial majority of our investment portfolio. Increases in interest rates also may lead to an increase in policy loans, surrenders and withdrawals that generally would be funded at a time when fair values of fixed income securities are lower. A decline in the quality of our investment portfolio as a result of adverse economic conditions or otherwise could cause additional realized losses on securities, including realized losses relating to derivative strategies not adequately addressing portfolio risks. A declining market could also cause the investments in our pension plans to decrease below the accumulated benefit obligation, resulting in additional pension liability and expense and increasing required contributions to the pension plans.