New Ireland Assurance blames income fall on market volatility
Bank of Ireland subsidiary sees annual premium drop 14% to €1.7bn
New Ireland Assurance said new business levels were 10% lower than the previous year
Annual premium income at New Ireland Assurance fell 14 per cent to €1.7 billion last year in what the company described as a challenging and competitive environment.
In recently filed accounts the Bank of Ireland subsidiary generated an operating profit of €82 million, which was marginally up on the previous year. Premiums accounted for as insurance contracts were 10 per cent lower at €1.3 billion.
The firm said the growing labour market, ageing population and reducing levels of State and employer-led pension provision meant that the underlying individual investment and protection needs of the working population would continue to grow.
However, it said that market volatility and low interest rates had had an adverse impact on the single premium market. “The current low interest rate environment and recent market volatility has resulted in a challenging year for the business,” it said, noting that new business levels were 10 per cent lower than the previous year.
It said new lump-sum business had been particularly impacted by market uncertainty.
Regular premium sales were up 3 per cent, while new sales consisted of €1.15 billion of new lump-sum business and €124 million of new regular premium business.
The company said its overall share of the Irish life and pension market last year was 21 per cent.
In its report the company noted that it had more than 500,000 policyholders and in excess of €16 billion in assets, and that it was well positioned to benefit from the growing investment and pensions market.