Income protection insurance (IPI) sales have reached an all-time high, with almost 180,000 new policies sold in 2000, according to a report by GE Frankona Re.

This represents a year-on-year increase of 3%. Within the total, the market for budget plans saw a 19% increase in new business, with sales rising from 23,500 new policies in 1999 to over 28,000 in 2000. This growth was predominantly a result of mortgage-related sales.

Providers of standard plans continued to put in a steady performance with new business sales of around 150,000 policies for the third year running.

At the end of 2000, there were just over 1.26 million individual IPI policies in force. A further 1.67 million people are covered under group IPI policies, meaning around one in ten of the working population have this cover.