Life expectancy changes help Legal & General to record profits

Legal & General HQ in the City of London. Photo credit Tim Ireland/PA Wire
Legal & General HQ in the City of London. Photo credit Tim Ireland/PA Wire
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Insurer Legal & General has reported record annual profits, helped by changes in life expectancy rates and a strong performance in its retirement division.

The group posted a 32 per cent increase in operating profit to £2.1bn in 2017, as it again pointed to a “favourable mortality experience”, which allowed it to release £332m of reserves.

Customers are not living as long as expected, which helps life insurers such as L&G, who pay out bigger sums the longer an individual lives.

Boss Nigel Wilson said: “Legal & General’s strategic focus, alignment to global growth drivers and excellent execution allowed us to deliver a record £2.1bn operating profit in 2017.

“Customer focus and good value made us market leaders in our chosen UK business segments, while successfully expanding in the US, where L&G Retirement broke new ground.

“We remain confident that our unique business model, strong management team, collaborative culture, and strategic focus can deliver further growth in 2018 and beyond.”

Profits at L&G’s retirement arm rose 54 per cent to £1.24bn, thanks to strong performances in the UK and US pension markets.

L&G’s investment arm saw record external net inflows of £43.5bn, which drove operating profit up 9 per cent to £400m.

But general insurance posted a 29 per cent fall in operating profit to £37m, due to higher than expected “non-weather related household claims” in the first quarter of 2017.