Life offices have tripled their assets under management over the past decade, according to the lates...
Life offices have tripled their assets under management over the past decade, according to the latest Insurance Statistics Yearbook published by the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
ABI spokesman Malcolm Tarling said: "This is a trend that looks set to continue with the introduction of stakeholder pensions next year, and the launch of the industry's voluntary quality mark scheme on 17 October this year."
According to the ABI, insurers' investment holdings amounted to £1.09 trillion in 1999. This is three times more than 10 years ago, when companies' invested assets were £309bn. British insurers now own 21.6% more than a fifth of the UK stock market
Tarling added: "The insurance sector is becoming more important because people are increasingly getting into the savings habit. Pressure from successive governments has encouraged people to provide adequate income for their retirement rather than rely on state pensions. With-profit bonds, for example, introduced five years ago, have been particularly successful in encouraging people to save."
The yearbook, which covers the period 1989 to 1999, shows insurers collected £543.6bn worth of life and pensions premiums in the UK during the 1990s. Savings premiums have risen steadily every year since 1994, totalling £91.8bn in 1999.
Worldwide, life and pensions premiums amounted to £643bn over the decade, according to ABI. Last year they totalled a record £106bn three times their 1989 level. The yearbook shows payouts on life and pensions policies have also been high.
In the UK, policyholders received an average £166m every day last year. This has increased by almost 200% since 1990.
Last year, the yearbook reports, the general insurance business continued to make an underwriting loss of £2.3bn in the UK and £3.5bn worldwide.
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