GERMANY - Allianz Leben, the life insurance arm of Allianz that is a major provider of German corporate pensions, has provided more evidence that the market is – at least for insurers – beginning to take off.

Allianz Leben said that in the first half, new contributions from corporate pensions totalled €812m – a rise of 38% from the same period last year. All told, it said the business accounted for just under half of the total €1.63bn in new contributions.

According to Allianz Leben, the prospects for Germany’s corporate pensions market continued to look very good.

“The reason is demographics, which are also affecting companies. The upshot of this is that there will be an increasing need among companies to have their pension liabilities fully financed.”

Like rival AMB Generali yesterday, Allianz Leben said demand for the Riester-Rente – a tax-privileged private pension – was robust in the first half. The insurer sold 35,000 new Riester contracts during the period, up 25% from a year ago.

Allianz Leben also agreed with AMB that the Rürup-Rente, another tax-privileged private pension targeted mainly at those not insured by the state pension scheme, had so far gone nowhere.

“Above all, the reason is that tax rules for the pension are so complicated that, for example, more time has to be taken to train advisors,” commented Gerhard Rupprecht, Allianz Leben’s chief executive. “The pension also needs time for clients to truly appreciate its advantages.”

Allianz Leben and AMB’s disappointment with the Rürup-Rente was, however, not shared by financial services firm MLP. It said Rürup accounted for no less than 38% of the 49,500 retirement savings products it sold in the first half.

“As a result, the new pension has already become a crucial part of our product portfolio,” said MLP in Heidelberg.

In a related development, Allianz Leben said it had increased its exposure to equities to 15.4% at the end of June from 14.3% at the end of December.