By managing capital and investing in various assets, insurance and occupational pension companies generate returns and bonuses which benefit the policyholders. Swedish companies mainly invest in Swedish and foreign
equities, investment funds, bonds, and real property (see figure 29). The bonds in which insurance and occupational pension companies invest are mainly bonds issued by foreign borrowers, Swedish government bonds and bonds issued by Swedish banks and mortgage institutions.
Non-life insurance companies typically invest in assets of shorter duration than life insurance and occupational pension companies. The reason is that non-life insurance companies need to manage current claims payments every year. Life insurance and occupational pension companies have a longer investment horizon since pension and life insurance savings take place over a longer period. Also, the payment of pension takes place over a longer period, at least 5 years.
The return on the life insurance and occupational pension insurance companies’ assets is important since it affects the level of future pension payments.
For 2021 the total return on assets managed by Swedish life insurance and occupational pension insurance companies amounted to 15.6 per cent (see Figure 30). This is significantly higher than the average annual total return over the past ten years of 8.0 percent. The high return in 2021 was mainly due to the good development at the equity markets both in Sweden and globally,
and the fact that the companies’ assets consist of a relatively large proportion of equities.
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