Closing Asia's mortality protection gap

The COVID-19 crisis is underscoring the vital role of insurance in strengthening household resilience to a shock such as the loss of a breadwinner. Our new research maps the mortality protection gap across the Asia-Pacific region.

For the best viewing experience of our interactive site mortalityprotectiongap.swissre.com, please access with your desktop browser.

The loss of a household's breadwinner(s) is not only emotionally devastating but can create a long-lasting financial shortfall for the surviving members.

Swiss Re Institute conducted the most comprehensive Asia-Pacific-wide study on consumer behaviours and attitudes towards mortality protection to date, covering more than 14 000 consumers across 10 main economies1 in the region. To estimate the mortality protection gap, we combined survey results and macroeconomic data to measure the lack of financial resources households have to maintain living standards should the main breadwinner(s) of a family pass away.

We estimate the Asia-Pacific mortality protection gap at USD 83 trillion in 2019, of which five emerging economies account for the lion's share (USD 61 trillion). China has the highest overall mortality protection gap with its size of population, but by household, families in India are most vulnerable to financially cope with the loss of their breadwinners.

Closing this gap represents a huge opportunity for insurers: we estimate the additional annual premium potential at USD 292 billion per year. Tapping it, however, is not a given: the survey found that consumers often do not choose to buy life cover due to various reasons. The task for insurers is to better understand consumer mindsets and unmet needs to differentiate the values that life insurance policies offer.

To view the full data, compare findings and recommendations in between markets, export content and charts, and calculate your own protection gap, visit our dedicated interactive site here. For the best viewing experience, please access with your desktop browser.


[1] The 10 markets are: Advanced Asia - Australia, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong SAR, Singapore; Emerging Asia – mainland China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. After the executive summary, the term “Asia” as used in the rest of this report refers to Asia-Pacific including Australia and New Zealand.

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