NU Online News Service, Oct. 11, 2004, 4:32 p.m. EDT

China already is the eighth largest life insurance market in the world.[@@]

Researchers from Swiss Reinsurance Company, Zurich, have published that finding in a summary of their latest report on emerging insurance markets.

The researchers point out that inflation-adjusted life premiums have been increasing about 10% per year in emerging markets over the past decade. That compares with an average growth rate of 3.4% in industrialized nations.

Continued growth could increase total emerging market life premium revenue to $450 billion per year by 2014, up from $188 billion in 2003, the Swiss Re researchers estimate.

South Korea, the biggest emerging life market, generates the equivalent of $42 billion in annual life premium revenue and is a bigger life insurance market than most European countries.

China generates about $32 billion in annual life premium revenue, Swiss Re says.

Swiss Re cites Hungary, Kuwait, Slovenia and the United Arab Emirates as examples of countries with relatively high per-capita incomes but low rates of life insurance penetration.