Swiss Re Sigma report claims global insurance premiums up

06-07-2018

Swiss Re’s latest world insurance Sigma report has reported that global insurance premiums increased 1.5 percent to nearly $5 trillion in 2017, after rising 2.2 percent in 2016.

The report also stated that global life premiums increased 0.5 percent in 2017, while global non-life premiums rose 2.8 percent. At the same time growth in both the life and non-life sectors slowed.

Swiss Re indicated that the main areas of growth has been and will be in emerging markets going forward.

The Sigma report suggested that the main cause of drag on overall global premium growth might be falling life premiums in advanced markets such as the US and Western Europe. Emerging markets, especially China, continued to drive growth.

In addition the report said that the Swiss Re Institute expects global non-life premiums to rise, led by the US, where the economy is strengthening. It also predicts that global life insurance premiums will improve over the next few years, driven by strong growth in China.

It also stated that the expansion of global premiums has slowed to 1.5 percent from 2.2 percent in 2016. Global life premiums increased to roughly $2.7 trillion in 2017, while global non-life premiums rose to approximately $2.2 trillion. Growth in both the life and non-life sectors slowed.

Falling life premiums in advanced markets such as the US or Western Europe were the main cause of drag on life premium growth. Slower, but still solid growth in emerging markets led to the slowdown in the non-life sector.

Nevertheless, emerging markets, especially China, remain an important driver of global premium growth. China continued to be among the world's fastest growing insurance markets, particularly in life.

In emerging markets, life and non-life premiums increased 14 percent and 6.1 percent respectively in 2017. In the non-life sector, growth in 2017 has slowed but still remained robust.

The slowdown in emerging markets was largely driven by China, where the speed of expansion halved to a still solid 10 percent. The insurance markets in emerging countries have outperformed the corresponding economies for decades, given the current low levels of insurance penetration

The Sigma report also claimed that China continues to be the main growth engine in emerging markets. Compared to 2016, growth slowed in the region but remained robust. The Chinese life market grew by 21 percent in 2017, well above its ten-year average of 14 percent. China is now the second largest life market globally after the US and accounts for more than half of emerging market life insurance premiums written, or 11 percent of the world total.

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