(Bloomberg) — A German government proposal to restrict life insurers’ dividend payments to help ensure payouts for policyholders risks deterring investors, the industry’s lobby said.
“If we’re to build up capital, we need shareholders who see a point in investing in life insurers,” Alexander Erdland, head of the GDV insurance industry association, told reporters in Berlin today. “When they hear ‘a lock on dividends’ that’s unlikely to happen.”
Life-insurance payouts rose to 2.8 billion euros ($3.9 billion) last year from 1.3 billion euros in 2010 after a legal change in 2008 compelled companies to pay matured or canceled policies partly by drawing on reserves, according to GDV.
Companies including Allianz SE, Europe’s biggest insurer, have been pressing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition to change the law. A Finance Ministry proposal presented March 11 targets shareholder profits to reduce reliance on reserves at a time of record-low interest rates, while reducing the guaranteed interest that insurers pay on policies.