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Life woes drag AMP to $344 million loss

Poor performance from AMP’s life insurance business has forced the parent to report a $344 million loss for last year.

Operating earnings for the wealth protection business slumped to a $415 million loss in the year, compared with a $185 million surplus in 2015.

Individual life annual premium grew only 0.5% to $1.5 billion. Group life annual premium fell 0.2% to $442 million.

Experienced claims losses in the life business grew to $105 million from $11 million in 2015, with income protection the driver, rising to $54 million from $5 million.

Lump sum experienced claims losses totalled $26 million last year, compared with $10 million in 2015. The group life business fell to a $15 million loss from an experienced claims profit of $2 million in 2015.

Lapses cost AMP $9 million last year, while the lapse rate was static at 13%.

The wealth protection business’ flow of red ink continued into its profit margins, falling to $175 million from $196 million.

AMP CEO Craig Meller says while some divisions performed well, the overall result is “overshadowed by a poor performance in wealth protection”.

“The wealth protection market deteriorated [last year] and we took action to re-set and stabilise our business,” he said.

Steps include strengthening assumptions and completing the first tranche of a reinsurance deal with Munich Re, releasing $500 million of capital.

Best estimates predict another loss for the wealth protection business this year.

The reduction in profit margins is forecast to be down, with assumption changes estimated to be $60 million and a further $20 million reflecting the reinsurance deal.

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