More than a quarter (26%) of UK insurance chief executives have "negative" feelings about the prospects for the sector in the next 12 months.

And only 11% of chief executives are "very positive" about the insurance industry's prospects in the coming year, according to ABI research .

But general insurers (70%) are much more positive than life insurers (19%) about prospects over the next 12 months.

Of the 76 insurance chief executives surveyed, 35% said they were "positive" about prospects in the coming year, while 28% said they were "neutral".

However, the outlook of chief executives for the next five years is brighter.

While only 7% said they were "very positive" about prospects in that period, 61% said they were "positive".

Only 8% of chief executives were "negative" about the prospects of the insurance industry in the next five years.

Chief executives were also asked to identify factors most likely to affect their businesses over the next five years.

Positive stock market performance (51%) was identified as the biggest driver.

This was followed by the impact of regulation (47%), the insurance underwriting cycle (35%), and the cost of capital (31%).

For general insurers, the factor most likely to affect business over the next five years is the underwriting cycle.