NU Online News Service, Aug. 28, 4:35 p.m. – Asia’s life insurance markets have bounced back from the slump following the Asian financial crisis of 1997 and are expected to grow 8.9% per year over the next five years, according to a recent study by Swiss Reinsurance Company, Zurich.

The study, “Insurance Markets In Asia: Sanguine Outlook Despite Short-term Uncertainties,” says strong economic development in Asia will ensure that the region remains one of the fastest-growing life insurance markets in the world.

Japan, however, will continue to lag behind, with annual growth of 2.3%, the study predicts.

The study cites the following as the factors that will spur the rapid growth of Asia’s life insurance business:

Asia’s high savings rates and policyholders’ increasing willingness to take on investment risks offer attractive asset management opportunities to insurers.

The region’s rapidly aging population signals the need for governments to provide sufficient retirement provisions. Most Asian governments are looking to the private sector to take a leading role in meeting this challenge.

Bancassurance is helping life insurers to better segment clients and access high net-worth sectors. Based on this innovative approach to distribution, life insurance penetration is set to increase, particularly in China and India, where banks boast far-flung distribution networks.

The study is available on the Swiss Re Web site, at http://www.swissre.com