Stable environment despite financial crisis — Notwithstanding the flagging economy, demand for insurance cover in Swiss Life’s core markets remained stable. Premium volume in the life insurance market in France went up by 12% in 2009, compared to the year before. Premium income also rose in Germany despite the difficult economic situation, advancing by 7%. In Switzerland – Swiss Life’s home market –premium volume declined slightly  due to the large relative share of occupational pensions, where new business was hard to come by. Many potential new clients are affiliated with employee benefits institutions which are reporting a shortfall. Such gaps in funding make it harder to switch to a full insurance solution from an insurance company. The market for individual insurance, on the other hand, showed modest growth in Switzerland as well.

Swiss Life’s cross-border business continued to experience positive growth, generated above all by insurance solutions for high net worth individuals. In contrast, variable annuities – unit-linked life insurance policies with guarantees – were hit the hardest by the problems on the capital markets, falling short of their growth expectations due to the uncertainties on stock exchanges around the world.

Financial services providers, such as Swiss Life Group member AWD, experienced a difficult year. However, the last two quarters of 2009 already indicated that the trend line had an upward bias again. Both AWD and its main competitors managed to expand their client base. The broker channel will also gain in importance in the near future, boosted from the growth in life and pensions products.