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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

China boosts life sector premiums

Global insurance premiums increased by 1.5% to nearly $5tn in 2017 after rising by 2.2% in 2016, insurer Swiss Re has said, with China cited as an engine of growth. 

China cited as an engine of growth ©Shutterstock
China cited as an engine of growth ©Shutterstock

Life premiums were up by 0.5%, and non-life 2.8%.

Swiss Re said falling life premiums in advanced markets such as the US and western Europe were the main cause of drag on overall global premium growth, while emerging markets, especially China, continued to be key drivers of growth, particularly in the life sector.

But Swiss Re said it expected global non-life premiums to improve, led by the strengthening of the economy in the United States.

It predicted that global life insurance premiums would rise over the next few years, driven by strong growth in China.

In emerging markets, life and non-life premiums increased by 14% and 6.1% respectively in 2017. 

Insurance markets in emerging countries had outperformed their overall economies for decades, given the current low levels of insurance penetration, it noted.

The Chinese life market grew by 21% in 2017, well above its 10-year average of 14%, making China the second largest life market after the US and accounting for more than half of emerging market life insurance premiums written, or 11% of the world total.

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