Sigma 3/2012: World insurance in 2011

Overall premiums declined 0.8% (inflation-adjusted) last year according to the latest sigma publication “World insurance in 2011,” the first public assessment of global insurance market performance in 2011. The report is based on the assessment of 147 insurance markets.

Non-life premiums expand 1.9%, capital position sound despite adverse environment

Growth for non-life premiums in emerging markets was robust at 8.6%, while growth was marginal in advanced markets at 0.5%

“Non-life premium growth in the advanced markets has been supported by gradual rate increases in personal lines of business and in regions affected by large natural catastrophes,” says sigma co-author Daniel Staib. However, the weakening global economic environment dampened insurance cover demand.

Capital and solvency remained solid despite extraordinarily costly natural catastrophe events.

Worldwide life premium decrease

Life premiums decreased 2.7%, caused mainly by a few large markets where insurance premiums sharply fell. Many markets continued to show steady growth, including in the US and Japan, the two largest markets.

Tighter regulations on distribution of insurance products in China and India led to an overall decline in emerging life premiums. Other regions, such as Latin America and the Middle East, showed continuing growth.

Moderate overall growth in 2012

Although slower economic growth will affect demand for life and non-life insurance, premium growth is expected to revive in emerging markets.

“Last year was not a great one for premium growth, but 2012 should be a lot better as rates continue to improve in non-life markets and India and China return to robust growth in life markets,” says Swiss Re Chief Economist Kurt Karl.

Download sigma 3/2012: World insurance in 2011 and watch the video interview with the authors.

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