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Total premiums paid for life insurance grew by 6.2 per cent in the year to September, the Investment Savings and Insurance Association (ISI) said today.

Total premiums earned $1.367 billion and premiums for the most popular products, term life and income protection, grew by 8 per cent over the year to $1.145 billion, ISI chief executive Vance Arkinstall said.

"Whilst this growth is positive it needs to increase if it is to address the underinsurance problem that exists within New Zealand," he said.

During the year ended 30 September 2007, the local life insurance industry paid out over $799 million, of which $406 million was in death payments and $207 million was in maturities of existing life insurance savings.

Other benefits including income replacement was $186 million.

- NZPA