There are several explanations for this decline. Naturally, life insurers were impacted by the effects of the stock market decline during the final two quarters of 2008. In addition, Life insurers’ investments exhibit a shift away from quoted shares and into negotiable debt instruments.
Since the second quarter of 2007, life insurers sold especially quoted shares (see Chart). Notable purchases of negotiable debt instruments took place during the first and second quarters of 2007, the third and fourth quarters of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009. At the end of the first quarter of 2009, EUR 131.6 billion was invested in negotiable debt instruments, up from EUR 111 billion a year before.