China Life Insurance saw its net profits rise by 95% last year to reach US$5.52 billion on the back of stock market gains, Bloomberg reported. The financial results were stronger than analysts had expected. Last year Chinese insurers were allowed to invest a greater proportion of their assets into equities, and this increased exposure saw China Life’s net investment income climb 77% to US$6.24 billion. However, when announcing its results, the company noted that it "will face further challenges in view of the keen competition in the insurance industry and the uncertainty of the capital markets." The poor performance of Chinese stocks since the beginning of 2008 is likely to harm the company’s first-quarter numbers. On the competitive front, China Life has seen its premium growth slow to nearly a quarter of the industry average in response rivals cutting prices and hiring more agents.