The 12-month period ending at September last year was a happy one for the risk insurance industry, according to latest figures from actuarial and research firm Plan for Life.

The Plan for Life risk insurance report showed the industry as a whole experienced an increase in both premium inflows (up 11.9 per cent) and new business sales, which grew 9.4 per cent compared to the previous 12-month period. AIG topped the premium inflows chart growing by a whopping 70.7 per cent over the year to September 2005 followed by Prefsure (36.4 per cent) and Tower (22.1 per cent). Tower’s renewed focus on its traditional life insurance business also appears to be paying off with new premium sales increasing by 42.6 per cent over the year, handsomely outperforming its nearest rivals in the category Axa (at 29.2 per cent) and Comminsure (18.6 per cent). In what was generally a positive year for new risk sales, however, Westpac/BT was the standout loser and saw a drop in business of 31.3 per cent compared to the previous 12 months when the bank’s sales of risk products has increased by almost 40 per cent. By sector the Plan for Life data shows Tower was the best-performed in the individual lump sum market (term life, TPA and trauma) growing 22.3 per cent in premium inflows and 30.4 per cent in new sales. In the income protection market Aviva topped the premium inflows (up 10 per cent) while AIG reported the best sales for the period increasing 65.8 per cent. AIG also recorded the highest increase in premium inflows in the group risk sector for the year to September 2005 (growing 77.5 per cent), however, its new business dropped 15.8 per cent over the same period. Tower (64.6 per cent), Suncorp-Metway (52 per cent) and Axa (50.2 per cent) had the highest increase in new group risk business over the year. As well as AIG faltering in its sales of group risk, both MetLife (down 19.9 per cent) and National/MLC (-15.4 per cent) suffered setbacks in this market. Plan for Life also found in its analysis of the entire insurance industry (which includes retirement income, super and non-super group and individual investment products) that there was a slight decline of 1.6 per cent in premium inflows from $34 billion in the year to September 2004 to $33.4 billion in the following 12-month period.

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