Irish Life contributes €42m to Canadian parent in third quarter

Group reports 17% increase in profits as health insurance customers rise

Irish Life reported a 17 per cent year-on-year increase in profits for the third quarter, contributing €42 million to its Canadian parent Great West Lifeco's earnings for the period.

The Dublin-based life assurance, pensions and investments group was acquired by Great West Lifeco in 2013 from the Government. The State which took over the business during the financial crisis as part of a taxpayer bailout of Irish Life's then sister company, mortgage lender Permanent TSB.

Winnipeg-based Great West Lifeco reported Canadian $581 million (€339 million) for the third quarter, down from $674 million for the same period last year, and impacted by $175 million of property catastrophe reinsurances losses relating to claims resulting from the impact of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, which hit the Americas in recent months.

Irish Life, which has more than 1.3 million customers, formed a health insurance arm last year, following its acquisition of Aviva Health and move to take full control of Glo Health, in which the company previously held a 49 per cent stake.


The integration of Irish Life Health has delivered annualised pre-tax cost savings of €9.8 billion of to date and the figure is set to rise to €16 million by the end of the year.

“Health insurance customer numbers continue to increase, with positive customer acquisition and retention rates in both the retail and corporate sectors,” Irish Life said in a statement.

Irish Life also achieved €7 million in annualised expense cuts in its retail division and targets a €8 million figure by the end of 2017, according to Great West Lifeco’s quarterly report.

Irish Life’s chief executive David Harvey said the unit’s performance in the third quarter was helped by the company’s so-called multi-asset portfolio funds (Maps), which the company launched four years ago and are invested in a wide range of assets, including cash, shares and bonds.

“We now have over €10.8 billion invested in our multi-asset strategies, including €3.2 billion by individual investors,” said Mr Harvey. “In the past six months, the number of individual investors in the Irish Life Maps fund has grown by 17 per cent.”

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times