Insurance Handbook

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 2021-2022

Swiss Re expects the global economy to recover strongly 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 3.3 percent in real terms in 2021 and 3.9 percent in 2022. As consumers become more aware of the risk stemming from the pandemic, global life premiums are estimated to grow 3.8 percent in 2021 and 4.0 percent in 2022.  Nonlife premiums are estimated to grow 2.8 percent in 2021 and 3.7 percent in 2022, driven by rate hardening in commercial lines.

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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World Life And Nonlife Insurance Direct Premiums Written, 2020 (1)

(US$ billions)

(1) Before reinsurance transactions.
(2) Includes accident and health insurance.

Source: Swiss Re, sigma, 3/2021.

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World Life And Nonlife Insurance Direct Premiums Written, 2018-2020 (1)

(US$ millions)

Year Life Nonlife (2) Total
2018 $2,866,868 $3,273,005 $6,139,873
2019 2,889,249 3,396,112 6,284,360
2020 2,797,437 3,489,608 6,287,044

(1) Before reinsurance transactions.
(2) Includes accident and health insurance.

Source: Swiss Re, sigma database.

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Top 10 Countries By Total Insurance Premiums Per Capita And Percent Of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 2020

 

Rank Country Total premiums
per capita
Rank Country Total premiums as
a percent of GDP
1 Cayman Islands $11,479 1 Hong Kong 20.8%
2 Hong Kong 9,746 2 Taiwan 17.4
3 United States 7,673 3 Cayman Islands 14.5
4 Switzerland 7,224 4 South Africa 13.7
5 Denmark 6,521 5 United States 12.0
6 Singapore 5,638 6 South Korea (2) 11.6
7 Macao 5,593 7 United Kingdom 11.1
8 Ireland 5,588 8 Denmark 11.0
9 Finland 5,218 9 Finland 10.7
10 Netherlands 5,022 10 Netherlands 9.6
  Total world $809   Total world 7.4%

(1) Includes nonlife and life insurance and cross-border business.
(2) April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021.

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

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