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4/2016 Mutual insurance in the 21st century: back to the future?

At their core, all mutuals operate for the benefit of their members rather than outside shareholders. Following retrenchment towards the end of the 20th century, mutual insurers are experiencing a modest revival. Over the past few years, cumulative premiums written by mutual insurers have outpaced that of the wider insurance market, with much of the outperformance concentrated during the height of the financial crisis. As a result, mutuals’ share of the world insurance market increased from around 24% in 2007 to just over 26% in 2014. This, however, is still much lower than in the late 1980s and early 1990s, before a wave of demutualisations in a number of developed countries.