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Surrenders hit AMP's life book

AMP New Zealand’s operating earnings for the six months to June 30, fell 15% to A$23 million (or 9% in New Zealand dollar terms), largely due to higher surrenders resulting from the re-pricing of the term risk book in 2008, aggressive competition, and the weak New Zealand economy.

Thursday, August 20th 2009, 12:53PM

It says the higher surrenders are a result of both the weak economic environment and the impact of a decision to reprice its risk book in October.

AMP also acknowledges there has been aggressive competition which has led to higher lapse rates than before.

However, it says the negatives have been offset to some degree by a number of factors including improved margins on its risk products.

Over the six-month period, annual in-force premium grew 13% compared to the equivalent period last year, but was only up 1% on API in the second half of last year.

It says the second half last year benefited from CPI and age premium increases.

In the six months to June lapse rates were up 3.1 percentage points to 11%, but AMP says this is broadly in line with the rest of the market.

It says AMP's market share of individual risk was 12.4% in March 09 compared to 11.9% a year earlier.

AMP Financial Services New Zealand managing director, Jack Regan said that despite the results showing some impact from current economic conditions, the business has performed strongly. It is well positioned for growth and the challenges of sweeping regulatory and tax changes across the industry.

"Our first-half performance reflects a sustained period of economic recession and its impact on our customers. Notwithstanding, there are some real gems in our results with total life insurance sales, a competitive cost structure and strong cash flows the standouts. We continue to focus on the critical corporate superannuation and KiwiSaver market and our progress is very encouraging."

Regan says there are challenges for the business due to the evolving regulatory and tax agenda. AMP's key priorities include re-engineering its wealth management and life insurance products and delivery platforms and refreshing its distribution network, he said.

Regan said that AMP was well advanced in preparing for upcoming adviser regulation. AMP will apply to become a Qualifying Financial Entity (QFE), responsible for AMP financial advisers and overseen by the Securities Commission.

"AMP strongly supports the enhanced adviser regulation regime and has done for many years through our business operations and our extensive industry involvement. We welcome the changes and the prospect of a more professional, responsible and consumer focused financial services industry," Regan said.

AMP adviser numbers increased by four to 380 in the period. It says the net increase reflects changes which align recruitment with net sales "and a rationalisation of less successful advisers".

The number includes 28 mortgage and insurance advisers working under the Roost brand.

Tags: FMA regulation

« Big growth in trauma salesQFE rules will tie up insurance advisers »

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