New York Life Insurance Worldwide's new life premiums doubled in the first half of this year compared with the year-earlier period. President and chief executive Stanley Silberstein said financial turmoil in Asia increased demand for life insurance. 'During periods of financial uncertainty, people want to know that they are putting their money into a safe horizon,' he said. 'And with life insurance, it is virtually risk-free,' he said. 'People do not buy insurance to get rich; they buy it to provide financial security and peace of mind.' Mr Silberstein said New York Life aims to achieve 84 per cent growth in new premiums in the whole year. Although the insurer has achieved high growth, he expects investment returns to be lower this year. 'During the current financial turmoil, it will be difficult to achieve a high investment return,' he said. The insurer has 10 per cent of its investment portfolio in US equities, with the rest in bonds and cash. He said it has 95 per cent of its investments in US-dollar assets and would not be seriously affected by Asia's turmoil.