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The Top 5 Global Markets for Life Insurance

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Economists at Swiss Re estimate that the people of Earth spent the equivalent of $2.9 trillion on premiums for life insurance and annuity products in 2019.

That amounted to an average of $379 for each of the world’s 7.7 billion people, and about 3.35% of the world’s $87 trillion in total gross domestic product (GDP).


  • A copy of the new Swiss Re world insurance market review is available here.
  • An article about an earlier Swiss Re world insurance market review is available here.

World life and annuity premium spending increased just 1.2% between 2018 and 2019, as world GDP increased 2.6%.

The Swiss Re economists have published those figures in a new review of the world’s insurance markets.

“The COVID-19 pandemic will spark the deepest recession since the 1930s, and we forecast that global gross domestic product… will contract by around 4% in 2020,” the economists say in the report. “This will lead to a slump in demand for insurance, more so for life…. Overall, however, we expect the industry to ride out what will likely be a short-lived recession, and for premium growth to bounce back as the economy enters a more protracted recovery.”

The United States continued to be the biggest single market for life and annuity revenue, with about $629 billion in life and annuity revenue.

But the countries in Europe that Swiss Re classifies as “advanced” combined for $972 billion in life and annuity premiums.

Many markets in the Swiss Re rankings generated far more life and annuity premiums per person than the United States.

The United States generated just $1,915 in life and annuity premiums per person in 2019, and it devoted just 2.9% of its GDP to life and annuity premiums.

For a look at the five markets with the highest life and annuity premiums per person, see the data cards in the slideshow above. (Wiggle your mouse pointer over the first data card to make the control arrows show up.)

— Read Student team helps Swiss Re size up G8 pandemic fundon ThinkAdvisor.

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