Commercial Insurance

World Life And Nonlife Insurance In 2020

Outside the United States, the insurance industry is divided into life and nonlife (or general insurance), rather than life/annuity and property/casualty. Swiss Re’s sigma 3/2021, World insurance: the recovery gains pace is based on direct premium data from 147 countries, with detailed information on the largest 88 markets. World insurance premiums fell 1.3 percent in 2020, adjusted for inflation, to $6.3 trillion. Nonlife premiums grew 1.5 percent in 2020, adjusted for inflation, reaching $3.5 trillion. Life insurance premiums fell 4.4 percent, adjusted for inflation, to $2.8 trillion.

Outlook for 2021-2023

Swiss Re expects the global economy to recover strongly in 2021 from the COVID-19 pandemic due to the rapid pace of vaccinations and global fiscal stimulus. However, the recovery may be impacted by the problem of emerging virus variants. Following a drop of 2.9 percent in real growth in 2020, Swiss Re estimates total global insurance premiums will rise 3.4 percent in real terms in 2021 and slow to 3.3 percent in 2022 and 3.1 percent in 2023. Slower economic growth in 2022 and 2023 is expected as a result of global supply chain issues, labor shortages and high energy prices. These factors will increase inflation in the near term. Global life premiums are estimated to grow 3.5 percent in 2021 and 2.8 percent from 2022 to 2023. Nonlife premiums are estimated to grow 3.3 percent in 2021 and 3.5 percent, 2022 to 2023, driven by rate hardening in commercial lines. Swiss Re expects global insurance premiums to exceed $7 trillion in by mid-2022.

Top 10 Countries By Life And Nonlife Direct Premiums Written, 2020 (1)

(US$ millions)

        Total premiums
Rank Country Life premiums Nonlife premiums (2) Amount Percent change
from prior year
Percent of total
world premiums
1 United States (3), (4), (5) $632,687 $1,897,883 $2,530,570 1.8% 40.3%
2 PR China  347,545 308,330 655,874 6.2 10.4
3 Japan (5), (6) 294,497 120,308 414,805 -3.0 6.6
4 United Kingdom (5) 238,890 99,430 338,321 -7.1 5.4
5 Germany (5) 106,571 151,995 258,566 3.8 4.1
6 France (5) 136,611 94,736 231,347 -11.2 3.7
7 South Korea (5),(6) 106,143 87,565 193,709 8.2 3.1
8 Italy (5) 118,612 43,361 161,973 -3.5 2.6
9 Canada (5), (7) 58,234 85,234 143,468 6.4 2.3
10 Taiwan 91,155 22,150 113,304 -3.8 1.8

(1) Before reinsurance transactions.
(2) Includes accident and health insurance.
(3) Nonlife premiums include private medical insurance.
(4) Nonlife premiums include state funds; life premiums are net premiums and are supplemented by estimated premiums for group pension business.
(5) Estimated or provisional.
(6) Financial year April 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021.
(7) Life premiums are net premiums.

Source: Swiss Re, sigma, No.3/2021.

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