Over the past eight quarters, the mortgage portfolio of life insurers increased €10 billion, though the picture is rather erratic over time. This is especially the result of the one-off take-overs of sometimes sizeable existing mortgage portfolios. In total, this represents around half the increase. However, recently various insurers have shown more autonomous growth. Take-overs are funded by selling bonds, of late also covered bonds and SPV paper (over €2 billion in the first three quarters of 2015).
In addition to investing directly in mortgage loans, life insurers also invest in bonds issued by domestic and foreign securitisation vehicles. The paper covered by mortgage loans as of September 2015 amounts to €7 billion, a slight decline compared to the end of 2014, partly as a result of sales.