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Global property/casualty premiums increased by 2.8% to $2.2 trillion in 2017, down from a rate increase of 3.3% in 2016 and just above the 10-year average of 2.1%, Swiss Re Ltd. said Thursday in a report.
The Swiss Re Institute’s recent sigma report, World Insurance in 2017, said the results are largely due to lower growth in emerging markets, particularly in China. Property/casualty premiums increased by 1.9% in advanced markets in 2017, up slightly from 1.7% from 2016 and well above the 10-year average of 0.9%.
China and North America were the biggest contributors to global property/casualty premium growth, each contributing 1% each, followed by Western Europe at 0.3%. U.S. property/casualty premium growth was roughly stable at 2.6%, where the industry was bolstered by higher auto rates.
The report noted that while there were slightly fewer catastrophes in 2017 than 2016, they inflicted significantly higher damage, totaling $337 billion, nearly double the prior year figure of $180 billion.
In April, Swiss Re reported that global insured losses from disaster events in 2017 were $144 billion, the highest ever on sigma records. Swiss Re said $138 billion of losses were from natural catastrophes and $6 billion from man-made disasters in 2017.
The biggest insured losses were related to the three hurricanes — Harvey, Irma and Maria —which together accounted for an estimated $92 billion.
The $193 billion difference between total and insured losses illustrates the large global protection gap for catastrophes, the report said.
“Looking ahead, we expect global life insurance premium growth to improve over the next few years,” the report said. “While advanced markets are expected to grow at a moderate pace, emerging markets are set to outperform, mainly driven by strong growth in China. Nevertheless, in terms of absolute volume, advanced markets will contribute around half of the additional future annual premium income over the next five years.”
Global insured losses from disaster events last year totaled $144 billion, Swiss Re Ltd. said Tuesday, the highest ever recorded in a single year.