Earlier deaths see Legal & General profits rise 27% to £988m

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Insurer Legal & General has posted a leap in half-year profits, helped by changes in life expectancy rates and a strong performance in its corporate division.

The FTSE 100 firm booked a 27% increase in operating profit to £988 million in the period after a "greater than expected mortality experience" allowed it to release £126 million.

Customers are not living as long as expected, which helps life insurers such as L&G who pay out bigger sums the longer an individual lives.

L&S said its "longevity assumptions" are still under review, so more cash could be released if they are too high.

Steve Clayton, of Hargreaves Lansdown, said this could "ultimately be very meaningful for L&G".

L&G saw a 40% profits rise in its General Retirement division to £566 million as a result, while annuity sales grew from £700 million to £1.6 billion.

Assets under management were up 13% to £951 billion.

Boss Nigel Wilson said: "Our consistently improving financial performance is due to investing for the long term in our market leading businesses, excellent execution by my colleagues and delivering value for customers.

"Our strategy, based around six long-term macro and demographic growth drivers, not only allows us to grow L&G's business, but also the scale of our long-term capital enables us to support inclusive growth across the UK.

"Our business model has proven to be resilient to political, economic and regulatory uncertainties."

Earlier this year, L&G said it plans to shift some of its business to Dublin once Britain leaves the European Union.

The firm will move part of its investment management operation to Ireland so it can continue to serve its customers.

It said there would be no impact on staff in other locations following the move.

Shares were down more than 2% to 269.8p in morning trading.