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E.U. insurance growth needed: Economist


MUNICH, Germany — European insurance markets need consistent growth to offset shrinking populations, an economist with a major insurance group claims.

While populations are expected to grow for the time being in the United States, Asia and India, fewer children are being born in a graying Europe, said Michael Heise, chief economist of Munich-based Allianz S.E.

"Projections by the EU Commission have established that the number of people in the 25 EU states will only decreased by nine million by 2050," he said in an interview with the insurer's in-house publication Allianz Journal.

"However, this assumes net immigration of an aggregate 40 million people," he said.

"Migration will change the structure of the society, and naturally the proportion of older people will increase considerably," said Mr. Heise.

For insurers, the effect "very much depends on whether we manage to maintain a degree of growth and thus also income momentum," said Mr. Heise. "If we do, the insurance markets won't perform badly, in spite of the demographics."

Helpful for insurers is the emerging trend of new markets to serve an aging population, Mr. Heise said. "There will be a sharper focus on age-specific hazards such as longevity and the associated everyday risks. Many services based on people growing old will gain in importance."