Business highlights

Life insurance to be more complex By 1990, shopping for life insurance will be more complicated, and insurance companies will have to diversify their products to compete with numerous other financial options.

An industry study, conducted by Arthur Andersen & Co., a Chicago-based research firm, and the Life Office Management Association, notes that more and more ''equity/investment-oriented products'' will be entering the marketplace in the years ahead. These allow policyholders to switch from one policy to another without penalty.

The industry staple whole-life policy will decrease in sales volume, the study says; term life will remain at about the same levels. But the real market leader will be in the ''universal/variable life'' category.

Universal life allows a policyholder to change the death benefit from time to time and vary the amount or timing of premium payments. Variable life features benefits that relate to the value of the assets behind the contract at the time the benefit is paid. It is more of an investment instrument than the traditional fixed-value insurance policy.

The study also notes that mergers and acquisitions in the insurance industry are expected to increase the size - but narrow the number - of big insurance companies by 1990.

Large life insurance companies (more than $50 billion in life insurance in force) appear to have a competitive edge and may increase their market share from its current 40 percent to 48 percent. Mid-size companies ($5 billion to $50 billion) will experience a slight decrease in market share, the study predicts, and small companies will lose the most. Job stability in a high-tech field

Specialists in the burgeoning field of information systems management may not be the workplace vagabonds they are popularly thought to be.

A recent survey by the Peat, Marwick & Mitchell accounting firm has found that systems executives typically have been with the same employer eight to 10 years.

Managers with one or more degrees were better paid than those without degrees , the survey found. MBA holders did best, with 51 percent earning more than $60, 000 a year. Peat, Marwick surveyed 1,200 information executives heading data processing departments of 50 to 100 people and in organizations employing 1,000 to 2,500.

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