Growth in the global economy was little changed in 2016 from the previous year with real gross domestic product (GDP) up 2.5%. Advanced economies’ GDP remained below the pre-financial crisis average, but was slightly above the annual average of the previous 10 years. Emerging market growth picked up only marginally, and was still far below the 10-year average.Download
Cyber threats are evolving rapidly due to the growing digital transformation of society, the widespread use of internet-enabled devices and processes, and the changing profile of hackers. Recent high-profile cyber attacks demonstrate that the extent of associated possible losses is also broadening, increasingly comprising both physical and financial damage relating to data privacy breaches and to companies’ tangible and intangible assets, and also business interruption costs. As a result, the issue of cyber protection is rising up the corporate agenda, at both large and small
In terms of devastation wreaked, there were a number of large-scale disasters across the world in 2016, including earthquakes in Japan, Ecuador, Tanzania, Italy and New Zealand. There were also a number of severe floods in the US and across Europe and
Asia, and a record high number of weather events in the US. The strongest was Hurricane Matthew, which became the first Category 5 storm to form over the North Atlantic since 2007, and which caused the largest loss of life – more than 700 victims, mostly in Haiti – of a single event in the year. Another expansive, and expensive, disaster was the wildfire that spread through Alberta and Saskatchewan in Canada from May to July.
Reinsurance and insurance markets are changing rapidly. Insurers around the world have become increasingly sophisticated in managing their capital and risks. Consolidation, evolving solvency regulation and the spread of enterprise risk management are driving a trend of centralized re/insurance buying by insurance companies and large corporations, tailored to enable growth and steer group-wide
risk appetite across all types of risks.
The Chinese economy has expanded rapidly over the last 30 years, with annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaging about 10%. Growth has slowed in more recent years due to weaker demand globally. China remains vulnerable to external shocks because of its reliance on investment and net exports, and this has
prompted the government to try rebalance the economy to a more domesticconsumption growth model.
In spite of a challenging environment in 2015 with moderate global economic growth of 2.5%, direct premiums written grew 3.8% in real terms, up from 3.5% growth in 2014. However, in nominal US dollar (USD) terms, global premiums were down by 4.2%, due to currency depreciation against the USD, particularly in the advanced markets. There was a slight slowdown in the life sector in 2015, with global premium growth dipping to 4.0% from 4.3%, due to weaker performance in the advanced markets. On the non-life side, strong growth in the advanced markets of Asia, and improvement in North America and Western Europe, contributed to a 3.6% increase in global premiums, up from 2.4% growth in 2014.The sigma includes a special chapter on the slowdown in global trade in recent years, and its possible impact on the insurance sector.Download
Behind the excitement created by the leading emerging markets such as Brazil, India or China, there is a group of "frontier markets" which have a promising outlook for economic growth and offer attractive long-term potential for insurers. Swiss Re's latest <i>sigma</i> study looks at 21 frontier markets such as Nigeria, Ecuador, Vietnam and Azerbaijan. It provides an outlook for premium growth and an overview of the economic fundamentals which will lead to increased demand for insurance in these countries. The report also looks at the individual features of each market, covering topics such as impending regulatory changes and the influence of external factors such as regional trade agreements.Download
According to the latest <i>sigma</i> study, global insured losses from natural catastrophes and man-made disasters in 2015 were USD 37 billion, well-below the USD 62 billion average of the previous 10 years. There were 353 disaster events last year. Of those, 198 were natural catastrophes, which is the highest number in one year, according to <i>sigma</i> records.Download
Underinsurance of property risks1 is a global challenge. Much of the protection gap is due to uninsured global natural catastrophe risk, which has been rising steadily over the past 40 years. Swiss Re’s sigma data show that total economic losses from natural disasters have averaged around USD 180 billion annually in the last decade,
with 70% (USD 127 billion, or USD 1.3 trillion in total over the 10 years) of that uninsured. Earthquakes, floods and windstorms are the main perils, particularly in areas of high population and property value concentrations.
The global insurance industry gained momentum in 2014, even though the economic environment improved only marginally, says Swiss Re's latest sigma study. Total direct premiums written were up 3.7% to USD 4 778 billion after having stagnated the previous year. The life sector returned to positive growth, with premiums up 4.3% after a 1.8% decline in 2013, and non-life premium growth accelerated to 2.9% from 2.7%. A notable feature of the renewed momentum across the insurance industry was a significantly stronger performance in the advanced markets.Download
Mergers and acquisitions (M & A) tend to come in waves. After declining sharply in the wake of the financial crisis, overall M & A activity in the insurance sector has been relatively low in recent years and has only just started to increase. Surveys also suggest sentiment towards M & A is turning as insurers look for ways to deploy excess capital, boost or diversify revenue growth, build scale and ultimately bolster profitability in the face of ongoing economic headwinds.Download