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Available on  gplay  » Business » China, India to drive Asia insurance growth

China, India to drive Asia insurance growth

By Freny Patel in Mumbai
October 09, 2004 14:38 IST
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China ranks second among emerging markets with a 11.8 per cent share of the non-life insurance premium segment, while India ranks 9th with a 3 per cent market share.

Both the Asian nations will, however, emerge as the largest insurance markets, according to Swiss Re. Interestingly it is the huge population base of India and China, which will aid their potential growth.

"China and India are very much in the spotlight, on account of their huge populations, growing economic importance and fast liberalising regulatory regimes," said Clarence Wong, head of economic research and consulting Asia, Swiss Re.

The global reinsurer's latest report stated that emerging markets have shown impressive growth prospects and are the frontier of the insurance sector.

Non-life insurance premiums collected in emerging markets are expected to double from $123 billion in 2003 to around $250 billion by 2014. Life insurance premiums will increase even faster from $ 188 billion to $ 450 billion over the same period, said SwissRe's Wong.

Over the past 10 years life and non-life insurance premiums in emerging markets have risen annually by 10.4 per cent and 7.3 per cent respectively in real terms against an average 3.4 per cent and 2.6 per cent for industrialised nations.

The Swiss Re study shows that the top 10 emerging countries account for 87 per cent of life insurance premium, and 66 per cent of the non-life insurance premium of emerging markets.

The study covered over 30 markets in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. Some emerging markets such as South Korea and China rank among the biggest insurance markets in the world at 7th and 8th positions.

In line with the robust economic development in India and China, their insurance markets have grown by leaps and bound.

Life insurance premiums in India have grown by an annual average of 12.7 per cent over the last decade, while non-life premiums have leaped by 6.2 per cent over the same period.

That for China has been more impressive with average growth rates of 23.7 per cent for life and 10.8 per cent for non-life over the same period.

With this China and India were respectively the 8th and 18th largest life insurance markets in the world in 2003, and ranked 13th and 28th in terms of non-life insurance premium income.

"Despite these impressive growth rates, the two markets are still relatively small, accounting collectively for only 2.2 per cent of global insurance premiums.

Nevertheless, their huge economies and population sizes, coupled with rapid industrialisation and globalisation, should create ample opportunities for development of insurance," Wong said.

The liberalisation and deregulation of the markets render them more accessible and attractive to foreign insurers.  Currently, majority foreign-owned insurers account for less than 3 per cent of insurance premiums in China.
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