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Swiss Re expects global life premiums to grow by 3% in next two years

8th August 2019 - Author: Matt Sheehan

Swiss Re is anticipating that global life insurance premiums will grow by around 3% annually over the next two years, with most of the improvement coming from emerging markets.

profit-growthChina in particular is likely to drive premium growth due to a recovery for demand in savings products.

Growth in advanced markets, on the other hand, is expected to remain low but positive.

Swiss Re’s forecast comes alongside data showing that life insurance premium growth slowed to just 0.2% in 2018, well below the already-weak annual average of the previous 10 years at 0.6%.

The reinsurer attributed the deceleration to contraction in the China market, although premium growth also slowed from 1.2% in 2017 to 0.8% in 2018 in advanced markets, again due to contraction in the EMEA region.

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US premiums rose notably by 2.4% after slipping in the previous year, while premiums in advanced Asia-Pacific grew by 1.4%, reversing a contraction of the same magnitude in 2017.

In emerging markets, life premiums fell by 2.0% in 2018 after increasing by 13% in 2017, with premiums contracting by 5.4% in China due to a tightening of regulatory supervision on the distribution of savings policies.

Swiss Re believes that China will face some short-term challenges as competition intensifies and measures to push protection products and tax-deferred pension insurance take some time to materialise.

Nevertheless, China is expected to contribute almost half of the global life premium growth over the next two years.

Among the advanced markets, analysts regard the US and Canada as the main drivers of growth, although in advanced Asia Pacific factors such as ageing populations and rising affluence will also support premium growth.

Swiss Re argued that overall profitability in the life insurance sector is likely to remain under pressure due to the low interest rate environment, which is set to continue given the recent change in monetary policy stance.

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