SWEDEN - Bertil Hult, CEO for the Nordic region of Skandia, one of the largest pension and insurance providers in the Nordic region and now owned by Old Mutual, is stepping down in the next 12 months.

Hult has agreed with the board to stay on until a replacement has been found, which he expects could be finalised by Christmas. Hult has held his current position since 2007 and now wants to give someone else the opportunity to continue the work at "full throttle".

Hult is not leaving to join another company but wants more control over his time and to have the opportunity to read other material than reports and PowerPoint presentations. Hult insists Skandia is a fantastic organisation but he is looking forward a freer way of spending his time. He would consider projects in the future, albeit on his own terms.

Hult is also stepping down from his role as chairman of the Swedish Insurance Federation, handing over the baton to deputy chairman Lars Dunér, CEO of Länsförskringar.

One of the frontrunners in the race to step into Hult's shoes is current COO Pelle Wahlström.

At the same time Skandia announced that its regular private premium income fell during the first half by 66% to SEK117m (€12.3m) compared to SEK347m  for the same period last year. Private one-off premiums also feel by 17% during the first half to SEK2.76bn from SEK3.08bn in the first half 2009.Regular corporate premium income also fell to SEK542m compared to SEK726m the year before. However, one of corporate premium payments increased by 7% to SEK897m.

The decline in premium income is a result of the recession which has resulted in lower income increases and fewer people changing jobs. At the same time competition has increased resulting in Skandia losing market share.

Meanwhile, according to a survey by Swedish pension and insurance provider AMF and research company Senior Research, some 87% of Swedish pensioners say they are fairly satisfied with their quality of life. Over half of the surveyed, 54%, also feel they have had great opportunities to do what they planned to do in retirement, and 23% feel they have had some opportunities to do so whereas 21% feel they have little or no opportunities to what they planned as pensioners.

The financial situation also seems to correspond to expectations with 71% stating that their economy was as expected or better and 76% feel they left employment at the right time but 16% had wanted to stay on for longer and 8% would have preferred to have retired earlier.

These stories were first published by Pensionsnyheterna, a Swedish-language specialist news service, and translated in agreement with IPE.com.