sigma 3/2021 - World insurance: the recovery gains pace

The world economy is recovering strongly from the COVID-19 crisis.

Swift vaccine deployment and large-scale fiscal stimulus, including unprecedented direct transfers to households and businesses, are fueling a stronger economic bounce-back than we projected last year. We lift our global growth forecast to a historically high 5.8% in 2021. Insurance demand is benefitting from the growth momentum, and we forecast above-trend global premium growth of 3.3% in 2021 and 3.9% in 2022.

The economic upswing expected in 2021 and 2022 is on track. The main market to watch remains China, where economic and premium growth continue at a strong pace.
Jerome Jean Haegeli, Group Chief Economist, Swiss Re

Rising risk awareness and the strongest rate hardening for 20 years in non-life insurance commercial lines will push total premium volumes 10% higher than pre COVID-19-crisis levels this year. By the end of 2022, we forecast that total global premium volumes will surpass USD 7 trillion for the first time ever.

The scales are tipped towards a positive insurance market outlook

The recovery may be uneven worldwide, as much still depends on the ability of vaccines to keep the pandemic under control. Rising inflation is also a key medium-term risk, particularly for non-life insurers.

However, on balance we have a positive outlook. The pandemic has cemented paradigm shifts that support the long-term outlook. In addition to rising risk awareness, which is proving a strong demand driver for both consumers and companies, a second shift is the acceleration in demand to transact online. It is imperative that insurers offer digital engagement at all touchpoints as they compete with new, non-traditional players entering insurance markets.

Whether it is private medical insurance or supply chain interruption for businesses, the pandemic experience has made people much more aware of the need for insurance protection.
Irina Fan, Head Insurance Market Analysis, Swiss Re Institute

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sigma 3/2021 World insurance

The recovery gains pace

​World insurance series

The world insurance sigma covers premiums written in the global primary insurance industry. Published annually, it has become one of the fixtures of the sigma programme since 1968, the publication's inaugural year. This page gives quick access to all the resources.

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