Short-sellers and fears over assets send insurer shares down

Insurance shares led a stock market fall yesterday on fears they had enough assets to meet future liabilities but experts said short-sellers had targeted the sector, papers claimed.

Poorly received results from Britain's Aviva were the catalyst. Its shares fell by a third.

  • Dutch financial services group ING , fell 17.5%to €2.64
  • Germany's Allianz lost 10.3% to €48.81
  • Swiss insurer Zurich fell 12.7% to SFr140.70.

In a separate analysis, the FT pointed out that short sellers are now targeting insurance stocks. This analysis was backed by The Times, which also flagged up the impact of the new accounting rules.

The FT quotes one commentator as saying: “The caravan has moved on from banks and real estate and has parked its guns on the lawns of the insurers.”