British insurers' investment in UK stock market dwindles

LONDON (Reuters) - British insurers managing 1.8 trillion pounds of assets have slashed investment in the UK stock market by more than half over 10 years, continuing a trend of diversification and allocating more cash overseas in search of higher yield, a report showed.

According to data published on Monday by industry body the Association of British Insurers (ABI), allocations to UK equities, once a core asset class, stood at 11 percent in 2012, having declined steadily from 24 percent in 2002.

This leaves UK insurers' home stock market among the smallest components of their investment portfolios with the proportion put in overseas stocks having risen from 10 percent to 17 percent over a decade.

The ABI report also said Britain's insurance industry collected $311 billion in premium income last year, making it the third largest in the world after the United States, worth $1.27 trillion, and Japan with $654 billion.

British insurers are paying out 187 million pounds per day to their customers, the ABI said, including 57.5 million pounds to clients with savings and investment policies, and 37.1 million pounds to annuity holders.

(Reporting by Chris Vellacott; editing by David Evans)