Close Close

Life Health > Life Insurance

Swiss Re: Global Life Premiums Dip in 2011, but Non-Life Premiums Rise Modestly

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

Global life insurance premiums fell in 2011, while prices began to harden in some markets and premiums grew for non-life insurance products, according to a new report.

Swiss Re, Armonk, N.Y., published this finding a new sigma study, “World Insurance in 2011: Non-Life Ready for Take-Off.” The study contains Swiss Re Economic Research & Consulting estimates and provisional data released by supervisory authorities and insurance associations.

Direct life insurance premiums declined 0.8% in real terms, the report says. However, direct premiums reached a record high of USD $5 billion in nominal terms, increasing 6% over 2010, as the U.S. dollar depreciated against the major currencies.

Global life insurance premiums shrank 2.7% and advanced markets—among them life-insurance funded wealth transfer, business, and charitable planning solutions—dipped 2.3%. The sharpest decline in the advanced markets spaced was observed in Western Europe, which plummeted 9.8%.

Accounting for much of the decline in Europe, the study says, were contractions of premiums in the U.K., as well as of in-force premiums in Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Meanwhile, premiums for the U.S. market grew moderately at 2.9%. Japan and the newly industrialized Asian countries ticked up 4.4%, well above their ten-year average.

More on this topic

Life insurance premiums in emerging markets dipped the most, declining 5.1%.

The study observes that life insurance premiums accounted for 57% (USD $2.6 billion) of total premiums in 2011. That’s down slightly from the 58% recorded in 2010.

The share is higher in advanced economies (58%) than in emerging markets (52%), mainly due to the low share of life insurance in the Middle East and Central and Eastern Europe, the study says.

Global non-life insurance premiums grew a moderate 1.9% in 2011. In advanced markets, the recession in Europe and weak growth in the U.S. kept premium growth to a mere 0.5%.

Emerging markets accounted for the largest decline in non-life insurance premiums worldwide, dropping 9.1%, the study finds.