Commercial Insurance

World Life And Nonlife Insurance In 2019

Outside the United States, the insurance industry is divided into life and nonlife (or general insurance), rather than life/annuities and property/casualty. Swiss Re’s 2019 world insurance study is based on direct premium data from 147 countries, with detailed information on the largest 88 markets. World insurance premiums rose 2.9 percent in 2019, adjusted for inflation, to $6.3 trillion. Nonlife premiums grew 3.5 percent in 2019, adjusted for inflation, slightly above the rate of growth from 2009 to 2018. Life insurance premiums grew 2.2 percent in 2019, faster than the 1.5 percent rise in 2009 to 2018, adjusted for inflation.

Outlook for 2020-2021

Following 2.9 percent real growth in 2019, Swiss Re estimates total global insurance premiums would fall 3 percent in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and forecasts 3 percent rebound growth in 2021, resulting in no growth over the forecast period, 2019 to 2021. After 2.2 percent growth in 2019 in 2020 life premiums are estimated to fall 6 percent in 2020, and to grow 3 percent in 2021. Overall, from 2019 through 2021, life premiums are expected to fall 2 percent. Nonlife premiums will fare better: following 3.5 percent real growth in 2019, premiums are estimated to be flat in 2020 and to rebound with 3 percent growth in 2021. From 2019 to 2021, nonlife premiums are predicted to grow 2 percent.

Top 10 Countries By Life And Nonlife Direct Premiums Written, 2019 (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) $628,522 $1,831,601 $2,460,123 3.9% 39.10%
2 PR China (5) 329,432 287,967 617,399 7.4 9.81
3 Japan (5), (6) 341,328 118,019 459,357 4.8 7.30
4 United Kingdom (5) 264,221 102,022 366,243 -3.8 5.82
5 France (5) 167,588 94,694 262,283 -1.5 4.17
6 Germany (5) 101,550 142,301 243,852 -0.4 3.88
7 South Korea (6) 94,483 80,037 174,520 -3.3 2.77
8 Italy 124,133 43,705 167,838 -1.4 2.67
9 Canada (5), (7) 53,317 79,840 133,157 2.9 2.12
10 Taiwan 97,423 20,401 117,823 -3.4 1.87

(1) Before reinsurance transactions.
(2) Includes accident and health insurance.
(3) Nonlife premiums now include private medical insurance, which had been included for other countries.
(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, 2019 – March 31, 2020.
7) Nonlife premiums are gross premiums, including reinsurance; life premiums are net premiums.

Source: Swiss Re, sigma No. 4/2020.

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