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Global insurers to see premium growth slowdown in 2016

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The global nonlife insurance sector is expected to experience slower premium growth in 2016 than in 2015, according to a study released Wednesday by Swiss Re Ltd.

Moderate economic activity and soft pricing will play key roles in the slowing, particularly in many advanced markets, Swiss Re said in its Sigma report, “World Insurance in 2015: Steady Growth Amid Regional Disparities.”

“In North America, premium growth is expected to slow slightly in 2016 because of price declines in most commercial lines,” according to the report. “In Western Europe, nonlife premium growth will remain subdued due to moderate economic recovery. In advanced Asia, a weakening economic environment will pose challenges to most of the nonlife sector, but some lines are expected to grow (e.g., accident & health, due to increasing awareness and product re-pricing). The nonlife sector in Oceania will likely be affected by pricing pressures and also regulatory changes.”

The study noted that advanced markets were the main driver of premium growth last year.

Advanced Asia — which includes Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong among other areas — registered the highest growth among advanced markets at 4.1%, and North America grew by 3.2%.

But growth was more moderate in Western Europe at 1.5%, although Swiss Re said “this was a significant improvement on previous years of stagnation.”

China was the primary driver of growth in emerging markets, which “continued their robust premium growth trend” at 7.8%.