European insurance companies shift to equities for higher returns

The largest European insurance companies have increased their level of investment risk over the last seven years.

Europe's largest insurance companies have moved EUR 200 billion from fixed-income investments to equities in their search for higher returns, a new analysis from the rating bureau AM Best shows. The analysis is based on 500 annual statements of western and northern Europe's largest insurance companies, which invested a total of EUR 8 billion, according to Financial Times.

Low interest rates have made getting returns from traditional interest earnings more difficult. The insurance companies have therefore chosen riskier investments. In 2011, under 16 percent of investments were in equities, whereas the current level is near 19 percent.

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