Pensions and life industry reports 4pc rise in sales
IRELAND's life and pensions industry has returned to growth after more than two years of steep decline.
Draft figures circulated to insurance companies show new business sales for life and pensions grew by 4pc in the first quarter of the year.
The growth follows a collapse of close to 30pc in 2008 and 2009 as the industry reeled from brutal investment markets at the economic collapse.
The latest data was compiled by actuarial consultancy Milliman, formerly known as Life Strategies.
The 4pc rise is based on the industry benchmark Annual Premium Equivalent which includes all the regular premium business for a year, plus 10pc of the single premium business.
The figures mark the first snapshot of the life insurance industry since December's Budget delivered clarity on the much-debated life insurance levy.
Within the 4pc rise, single-premium policies were the standout performer with sales growing 123pc between the first quarter of 2009 and first quarter of 2010.
An insurance executive last night attributed the growth to a "combination of low-deposit rates and improving sentiment towards stock markets enticing investors off deposit into long-term investments".
Pension single premium business also posted an exceptionally strong performance, with sales there up 48pc. Regular premium pension business, however, was down 25pc.
Annual premium life insurance sales were down 1pc.