Stephen Cranston Associate editor

The life insurance sector might not be as influential as it was when the Life Offices Association had the ear of the old National Party, or when financial planners were still called life and pension advisers. Nor is it the custodian of the nation’s savings. It has refocused on pure death and disability cover and abandoned its former universal life product, which tried to mix investment and cover and didn’t do a good job at either. But it remains much larger in SA than its counterparts elsewhere.

This is not to say people are over-insured, rather that life offices still have structural advantages when it comes to offering fixed-annuity products and smoothed bonus products. Even independent asset managers often pool assets with a life licence, though admittedly a limited one in which assets and liabilities remain matched.

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