Fourth of July

Before the Brits among us slide off to hide under a rock for the July 4 holiday, it’s time to present our annual Independence Day fact file. The Census Bureau reminds us that in July 1776, there were an estimated 2.5 million people living in the newly independent nation. This July 4, the nation’s population is a burgeoning 307 million. The Census Bureau also puts the dollar value of trade between the United States and the United Kingdom last year at $112.4 billion, making the nation’s adversary in 1776 its sixth-leading trading partner today. Another key Fourth of July fact is that 78 million Americans said they have taken part in a barbecue during the previous year. It’s probably safe to assume a lot of these events took place on Independence Day. Whether you’re planning on celebrating the holiday lounging by the swimming pool, renting a car to visit family, or having a barbecue, check out I.I.I. tips for a happy and safe holiday!

Global Outlook: Recovery Hopes

The economic situation will impact both life and non-life insurance growth in 2009 but a recovery is expected in 2010, according to the latest world insurance report from Swiss Re sigma. Swiss Re projects that growth in life insurance premiums in 2009 will remain subdued or may even turn negative as turbulent stock markets and gloomy employment prospects continue to negatively impact sales of unit-linked savings products. However, as the economy recovers it expects both higher life premiums and better investment results as asset prices are expected to improve. Meanwhile, non-life premiums are expected to remain flat in 2009 as the economic downturn curbs demand, particularly in the commercial line of business. However, capital shortages may trigger an upward movement of prices that will support underwriting results. Demand for additional cover should also increase in 2010 along with the economy. The upshot is that results in non-life will improve due to higher prices and improved investment results, while results in the life sector will improve when the capital markets recover, according to Swiss Re. In the meantime insurers will boost results by slashing costs. Check out the new editions of the I.I.I. International Insurance Fact Book for other global facts and stats.