I just heard on the radio that the UK may be heading for a triple dip recession. News like that really makes me appreciate working in the insurance and reinsurance sector.
With the general doom and gloom on the economy, I’ve decided to start talking about all the good news in our little global sector. And so I have gone about trying to find stats on the insurance and reinsurance market to:
- Prove to the world how important this sector is in financial services
- Shout about our accomplishments (as no one else seems to be doing it)
I must say it has not been easy. Without a global trade body to compile figures and promote the market, there are only a smattering of great things dotted all over the place. The only source I found of compiled figures was Swiss Re– so hats off to you and to the Insurance Information Institute for splitting them up into a very readable format.
How much do premiums contribute to GDP?
Did you know that according to Swiss Re, in 2011, Life and non-Life insurance premiums (excluding cross-border business) accounted for 6.6% of world gross domestic product (GDP)?
Premiums accounted for 17.0% of GDP in Taiwan, the highest share in the Swiss Re study, followed by 13.2% in the Netherlands, 12.9% in South Africa, 11.8% in the United Kingdom and 11.6% in South Korea. Premiums represented 8.1% of GDP in the United States, the 13th highest share in the study.
There’s even more impressive figures for insurance and reinsurance
This week, Insurance Europe published figures on how much claims and benefits European Insurers paid in 2011 (EUR 930 billion by the way – and thanks to Richard Banks, editor of Insurance Day, for this).
Tucked away at the bottom, it said that the investment portfolio of Europe’s insurers had a value of EUR 7,740 billion. That is $10,390 billion. Let me repeat that $10,390 BILLION. It is up 2.6% on 2010 and is equivalent to more than 55% of the total GDP of the 32 European markets that are covered by Insurance Europe’s data. Blimey.
The Insurance Information Institute said in its International Insurance Factbook for 2013 that world insurance premiums rose by 6 percent from $4.3 trillion in 2010 to $4.6 trillion in 2011. That is such a large number that my small brain has trouble computing it.
If insurance is doing so well, why is there so little PR around it?
So why so little on the industry? Pick up City AM, the Financial Times, the Telegraph, Independent, The Times – any decent UK broadsheet and on most days – and you will find next to nothing about this sector (unless it involves home or car insurance). Same in the U.S. Same with business magazines. Dow Jones, Reuters and Bloomberg have an excellent array of dedicated specialists… but their work is much more rarely published than, say, stuff on pensions or wholesale banking.
In fact, the only newspaper worth its salt in terms of reporting insurance and reinsurance on a regular basis is Bermuda’s The Royal Gazette. Strange that one of the first non-trade publications I look to is a paper on an island with just 64,000 people.
All I can say is ‘why?’