Bulk annuity market set for expansion as Aviva returns, LV= looks to enter
September 29, 2020
Sources close to the market confirmed to IPE Aviva’s intention to begin pricing single buy-in and buyout deals of up to £200m of liabilities.Any single deal of this size would outstrip the insurer’s total business for 2013.According to consultancy LCP, Aviva wrote £143m in bulk annuity business in 2013 and £187m in the year before.In the 2010-11 financial year, before its retreat from the market, the insurer wrote nearly £2bn in business.A statement from Aviva said the company was still working through the changes announced in the Budget.“Our business is generally targeting the smaller end of the market [up to £50m], but we will write larger business where there is a clear business case to do so,” it added.Two sources also detailed conversations with LV= regarding its entry into the bulk market, and the medically underwritten space.One source said: “LV= is looking at the market and spoken to people about offering bulk annuity deals.”A statement from LV= said: “We review our business regularly. We’re still looking at the fall-out from the Budget, and making sure we can still offer individual propositions that we think the market requires.”The move by the insurers is only the beginning of a trend according to several market commentators, in stark contrast to recent years, which saw Aviva scale back its writing, consolidation of Lucida into Legal & General, and a retreat from US insurer, MetLife.As economic conditions led to better pricing, business levels in the bulk annuity space reached record levels in 2013, with the current year expected reach £20bn, according to LCP.Improved scheme funding levels on the back of equities and rising yields have also led UK pension funds and sponsors to look at bulk annuity options for de-risking. General insurer, Aviva is expected to quadruple its limit on bulk annuity deals to £200m (€244m) as LV= is set to enter the market for the first time.Both moves come after the UK government scrapped the forced annuitisation of defined contribution (DC) pots, leading to fears of a drop-off in the individual market.Aviva in 2012 announced it would reduce its writing capacity in the bulk annuity market to £50m, having enjoyed 20% of the market (c.£2bn) in the previous two years.However, as last month’s Budget heralded a potential decline in individual annuity sales – by as much as three-quarters according to insurer Legal & General – Aviva and LV= have begun shifts into the potential £20bn a year bulk space.