Tough challenges for assurance companies, conference told
Life assurance companies will be subject to greater regulatory oversight in 2013 as they face up to another challenging year and potentially more consolidation, a conference heard yesterday.
"Given the difficult operating conditions domestically and broader macroeconomic headwinds, there will be an increased focus brought to bear on firms' business models in 2013," Mark Burke, head of division at the Central Bank, told attendees at "The Big Picture" event on pensions in Dublin.
Recognising that it is "increasingly challenging" for life assurance companies to provide appropriate products, given weak demand, commission competition and overcapacity in the market, Mr Burke said that in the year to the end of September, new business in the sector fell by 9 per cent, bringing the total decline in business volumes since the peak to somewhere in the region of 60-70 per cent.
Also speaking at the conference, Minister of Finance Michael Noonan told the audience that he would not amend his decision, announced in last December's budget, to provide an incentivised tax rate for early withdrawals of pensions.