NU Online News Service, Feb. 24, 2004, 4:42 p.m. EST – The Portuguese life insurance market is recovering nicely from the recent stock market slump.[@@]

Lynn Exton, a senior vice president in the London office of Moody’s Investors Service, reaches that conclusion in a report on Portugal’s insurance sector.

European life insurers tend to depend more than U.S. life insurers do on investments in stock. That hurt the finances of most Portuguese life insurers from 2001 until mid-2003, but now stock prices are up and so are Portuguese life insurers’ solvency levels, Exton writes.

In the long run, Portuguese life insurers should benefit from the aging of the Portuguese population, the weakness of Portugal’s retirement savings programs, and the fact that Portugal is one of the most underinsured markets in the European Union, Exton writes.