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U.S., Asia gaining on Europe for written premiums

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ZURICH, Switzerland--Values insured by credit and surety carriers totaled an estimated $2.9 trillion (€2.3 trillion) according to a report published by Sigma, the economic and consulting arm of Zurich-based reinsurer Swiss Reinsurance Co.

In its Sigma study, Swiss Re said that worldwide credit insurance premiums were estimated at $6.9 billion in 2005. While three-quarters of this total were written in Western Europe, United States and Asia were growing in relative importance, Swiss Re said in a statement.

"There is huge potential for export and domestic credit insurance in the expanding Asian and Central and Eastern European economies," Swiss Re said in the Sigma study. "The U.S. market--whose ratio of premiums to GDP suggests that it is less highly penetrated than other major markets--is also expected to grow briskly."

Global surety premiums in 2005 were $7.9 billion, more than half of which was written in the United States, according to the Sigma study. "The surety business has substantial growth potential in less penetrated Asian and European markets and the Middle East," Swiss Re said.

Swiss Re is a provider of credit reinsurance and has a 35% holding in Amsterdam Netherlands-based credit insurer Atrdius.

Sigma's "Credit Insurance and Surety: Solidifying Commitments" is available on www.swissre.com