COVID-19 knocks emerging market insurers but China resilient

Emerging market insurers will be the hardest-hit globally by COVID-19, with a 3.6 percentage point impact on premium growth in each of 2020 and 2021. China's insurance market is the exception, with average premium growth of 7% over 2020-2021, supported by a swift economic recovery, government policies, rising risk awareness and active customer engagement by insurers. We expect the shift in the global insurance opportunity to emerging Asia, and particularly China, to continue.

Key takeaways

  • COVID-19 will reduce emerging markets' insurance premium growth by 3.6 ppt on average in 2020 and 2021, we estimate.
  • Regions differ significantly with emerging Asia, led by China, expected to recover most quickly.
  • China will outperform with 7% average premium growth this year and next due to greater economic resilience, government policy support, and insurers' success in leveraging higher risk awareness.
  • We continue to be confident of the fundamental attractiveness of emerging insurance markets.
  • The pandemic is accelerating trends including digitalisation that can increase insurance penetration in emerging markets.

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