Global insurance premiums exceed USD 5 trillion for the first time: says Swiss Re Institute’s latest sigma

4 July 2019


Global insurance premiums passed the USD 5 trillion mark for the first time in 2018, equivalent to more than 6% of world gross domestic product (GDP), the latest sigma report from the Swiss Re Institute, “World insurance: the great pivot east continues“, says. This was based mostly on solid growth in the non-life sector, particularly in China and other countries in emerging Asia, and also among advanced markets, according to the report.

Highlights of the report include:

  • Global insurance premiums topped USD 5 trillion for first time ever in 2018, with solid growth in non-life, subdued performance in life
  • Life and non-life premiums will grow around 3% in real terms over 2019/20, based on strength in emerging markets across both sectors, and solid growth in non-life in advanced markets
  • In advanced markets, traditional life insurance savings business remains challenging given low interest rates
  • In non-life, ongoing evolution of advanced driver assistance systems will likely pressure motor premiums in the long term
  • US remains largest insurance market, followed by China and Japan – ongoing shift of insurance business east continues
  • By 2029, Asia-Pacific will account for 42% of global premiums – share of China is forecast to be 20% and the country is on course to become largest insurance market by mid-2030s
  • Swiss Re Institute establishes its China Centre in Beijing

This latest sigma says that global insurance premiums are forecast to grow by 3% in real terms in 2019/20, led by the emerging markets. Life premiums will increase by 2.9%, well above the 0.6% annual average of the previous 10-years, with a bounce back in China the main driver. In non-life, global premiums are forecast to grow by 3%, with emerging Asia taking the lead, supported by solid growth in advanced markets. China will contribute most to life and non-life premium growth over the next two years, and its share of global premiums will reach 20% by 2029, up from around 11% currently.

According to the findings of the report, China remains on course to surpass the US as the largest insurance market by the mid-2030s. With the growing importance of the market in China and the publication of this annual edition of sigma, Swiss Re Institute says it is pleased to announce the timely opening of its Swiss Re Institute China Centre in Beijing.

Read the full news release

Last month ICMIF was pleased to announce that Swiss Re has become a Supporting Member of the Federation, the main umbrella body for the cooperative and mutual insurance industry globally.

For member-only strategic content on the cooperative/mutual insurance sector, ICMIF members have exclusive access to a range of online resources through the ICMIF Knowledge Hub.

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