Insurance companies have followed the yo-yo trend of the stock market in the last week. Chris Wheal reports

Anybody who has watched the insurance industry’s share prices over the past week or so must have a neck as sore as direct insurer Churchill’s nodding dog.

Friday saw markets across the world continue to fall, despite effortsr by some central banks - and stoic calm from the Bank of England.

Many insurance company shares showed an exaggerated version of the market trend. Last week they fell faster than the All Share Index, but on Monday they bounced back faster too.

By Tuesday morning, it was all looking shaky again, but only for an hour or so.

This was true for insurers such as Aviva and Legal & General, and for the financial service giants that include insurance, such as Churchill's parents RBS.

And all this followed a similar pattern over the past few weeks that has seen shares go up.

These ups and downs show that insurers are not immune to the market, but the credit crunch that is causing the crisis will have less impact on them than on most.

The industry's risk-based prudence that can sometimes make it seem grey and dull is now its saving grace.