Global life insurance premiums to grow in 2013

Propelled by emerging Asian markets

Gaining traction (Ap Images/ Chitose Suzuki) Gaining traction (Ap Images/ Chitose Suzuki)

Global life insurance premiums are expected to grow by 3 percent in 2013, buoyed by the robust resurgence of the emerging Asian nations after the financial crisis.

The Swiss Re Group released the findings in a new study, “Global re/insurance review 2012 and outlook 2013/14.”

More broadly, the study discusses how the budding vibrancy of the U.S. housing market, fiscal and monetary stimulus in China and progress in the eurozone will foster growth throughout the year.

The key accelerator, however, is the emerging Asian marketswhich are comprised of China; India; Indonesia; Malaysia; the Philippines; Thailand and Vietnam.

China and India will lead the pack as they have gotten over growing pains that they experienced after regulations were passed in 2010 and 2011. The regulatory changes directly impacted premium growth in emerging Asian nations which was 0.1 percent in 2012.

Due to large health protection gaps in many emerging Asian nations, consumers will be driven toward risk protection products such as term life. Swiss Re expects life insurance premiums in emerging Asian nations to grow by 10 percent in 2013.

Advanced Asian markets which include Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan will remain stable and produce steady growth. However, profitability will be hindered by investment yields that will decline as bonds mature and are replaced with lower yielding assets.

Globally, Swiss Re expects life insurance premiums to grow to 3.2 percent in 2013 and jump up to 3.9 percent in 2014. It should be noted, however, that Swiss Re believes that inflation will stay the same in advanced markets but the risk of inflationary pressures impacting emerging markets should be monitored. 

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