Allianz can weather long-lasting low interest rates

The logo of Europe's biggest insurer Allianz SE is seen on the company tower at La Defense business and financial district in Courbevoie near Paris, France, March 2, 2016. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen/File Photo

Europe’s biggest insurer Allianz has positioned its business to weather rock-bottom interest rates that could last a “very long time”, the head of the German group’s life insurance division told German media.

While returns on life products offered a 4 percent guaranteed interest rate 15 years ago, ultra-low central bank rates have put pressure on the insurer to restructure its portfolio, Markus Faulhaber, Chief Executive at Allianz Leben, told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

“We started in 2007 to offer other types of life insurance apart from our classic form of life insurance,” Faulhaber said, adding that the new products are financed through a greater proportion of shares, real estate and private equity.

But Faulhaber said that about 80 percent of Allianz investments are still placed in highly diversified bonds with long-term maturities, such as 40-year French state bonds, which generated about 4 percent interest even today.

“You can expect us to survive the low interest rate environment,” Faulhaber told the paper. “We are attuned to this lasting for a very long time.”

[Source:- Reuters]