The UK division of life insurance consolidator Resolution saw a drop in sales after the group shied away from "unattractive" business in the lead up to the Retail Distribution Review (RDR).
Sales totalled £142m in the first three months of 2013, on an annual premium equivalent basis, down 18% on the £173m recorded in the same period last year.
Most of the damage was felt in its corporate benefits division, where sales were £109m in the period, against £146m last year.
However, the group said part of this drop-off could be attributed to a strategic decision to secure auto-enrolment mandates from existing customers and not to pursue non-profitable new schemes in the second half of 2012, where "significant activity" by commission-paying providers and aggressive fee-based pricing led to unattractive business propositions.
Resolution said the implementation of the RDR is expected to mean "this peak in commission driven scheme losses will be short term in nature".
But the group was happy with the performance of its retirement income and protection propositions, with the former writing £15m of new business against £9m in Q1 2012.
Andy Briggs, group CEO, said: "The group has continued to make good operational progress during the first quarter of 2013 achieving record value of new business written at a lower cash cost with further delivery of targeted cost savings.
"This performance has been led by the UK division with strong growth in the retirement income and protection businesses with corporate benefits in line with our expectations."