Standard Life buoyed by 21pc sales growth
STANDARD Life grew its Irish sales by 21pc last year, as demand for guaranteed savings products and personal pensions helped the insurer outperform market falls of 6pc.
The Irish business figures emerged yesterday as Standard Life's UK parent published its full-year results, which also showed a 51pc surge in business at Dublin-based 'Standard Life International'.
The UK plc employs about 250 people here across the international and Irish operations, and has a market share of about 6pc in Ireland.
Total new business sales in Standard Life Ireland came in at €76.6m last year, while the international business, which sells into the UK, enjoyed £70m (€81.4m) worth of new sales.
Both figures are based on the industry benchmark of Annual Premium Equivalent, which takes 100pc of regular premium business plus 10pc of single premium policies written in any given year.
"Standard Life's Irish businesses performed exceptionally well last year, despite the difficult environment," said Irish chief Nigel Dunne.
Sales of investment bonds into Ireland "more than tripled", as investors moved money from bank deposit accounts with low interest to "longer term" investments offered by insurers. The flight in cash from stricken Irish banks may also have contributed to the surge in cash flowing into investment bonds.
"We also saw strong sales of buy-out bonds, which is bad news for the economy at large," said Standard Life Ireland's marketing boss Brendan Barr, referencing products popular with those who've recently lost their jobs.
The international business benefited from a recovery in the UK economy, while 2010's massive growth is also flattered by a "weak" 2009, Mr Barr said.
Despite the glowing results for 2010, Standard Life cautioned that this year could bring "difficult times" for pension funds as they grapple with tax changes introduced by the outgoing Government.