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Wesleyan says it's still at top of league.

Wesleyan Assurance claimed this week that the latest pay-outs on its with-profit endowment policies confirm its position among the top performers in the authoritative annual survey of life assurance returns by Money Marketing.

The magazine, widely read by independent financial advisers, excluded Wesleyan from its league tables this year on the grounds that the Birmingham company had not sent in its final 1999 bonus declarations in time.

"The survey had April 1 as the cut-off date for returns," explained Wesleyan's Mr David Rutter. "Our bonus year runs from May to May and we didn't get them through in time."

Strictly speaking, the pay-outs based on Wesleyan's bonuses declared in May, 1998, could have served for the rankings in Money Marketing.

But the magazine took the view that this would give Wesleyan a misleading advantage in a year when most life companies have cut their pay-outs.

This is because years of high inflation and high interest rates in the late '70s and early '80s are being replaced with years of low inflation and low interest in the '90s.

Lower returns on policies maturing now do not necessarily reflect lower buying power, because in recent years inflation has eaten less deeply into the value of money.

In the event, the bonuses declared by Wesleyan last month, though mostly lower than those a year ago, leave it well placed among the front-runners.

The comparisons are all based on policies taken out by a non-smoking man at the age of 29. They assume that he paid premiums of pounds 20 a month for a 25-year policy, pounds 25 for one lasting 20 years, pounds 30 for 15 years and pounds 35 a month for ten years.

For Wesleyan, the new 25-year pay-out of pounds 48,326 puts it in second place among the 29 companies listed, beaten only by Royal London, which is paying pounds 49,257. The equivalent return from Britannic Assurance is pounds 42,273. Last year, Wesleyan paid pounds 49,777.

Over 20 years, Wesleyan ranks fifth with a pay-outs of pounds 26,868, one place ahead of Britannic, which is paying pounds 26,229. Again, Royal London tops the table with pounds 29,871. Wesleyan's pay-out compares with pounds 28,072 last year.

For 15-year policies, Wesleyan's pounds 13,938 pay-out, down from pounds 14,288 last time, give it sixth place. The best performer in this category was Liverpool Victoria, which returned pounds 15,971.

Over ten years, Wesleyan increased its pay-out to pounds 7,205 from pounds 7,021 last year. That put it in seventh place in the league table, headed again by Liverpool Victoria with pounds 7,944.
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Title Annotation:National
Author:Economics, NEVILL BOYD MAUNSELL
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 19, 1999
Words:442
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