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For our purposes we are designing for financial performance, with no intrinsic desire to maintain death benefit beyond the legal minimum.

I get that you are discussing structuring a contract with as "thin" a death benefit as possible, but you still have increasing mortality expenses per $1,000 of death benefit as the individual ages and (as discussed at length on this thread) variability in the crediting rate on the cash value.

I'd be leery of making a blanket statement that the mortality costs are always going to be decreasing, but that may be due to overexposure to a compliance department. :-)

Carry on.

-synchronicity
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