Allianz backs Riester despite sales slump

GERMANY –Allianz Leben says it would be wrong to write off the Riester pension – despite a slump in sales.

“The demand in state subsidised provision deteriorated significantly. It was only possible to sell 52,300 Riester products during 2003, corresponding to a tenth of sales in the previous year,” the life insurance company said.

“However, it would be wrong to write off the Riester pension,” said management board chairman Gerhard Rupprecht.

“Opening up the way to full subsidy, extension of the right to subsidies for everyone obliged to pay tax and further simplification of the grants could transform the situation,” he said.

He added that more than 90% of Riester customers are going through to the second state in which the premiums undergo a two-fold increase. “We regard this as an encouraging sign.” The Riester reform, named after labour minister Walter Riester, has been widely seen as a failure.

Allianz’s corporate pensions business rose 65.9% to 1.4 billion euros in new premiums, with corporate customers contributing more than 40% to total new business. “The renaissance in company retirement provision is continuing,” said board member Michael Hessling.

Pensionskasse business continued more than 20% of new corporate business. As at the end of 2003, around 40,000 employers had signed up.

Overall, the Stuttgart-based firm posted a 25.9% rise in new business. “Every fifth euro in new business went to our company,” Rupprecht said. He also called for politicians “not to place insurance at a disadvantage compared to pure investments” in Germany’s planned retirement income act.

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