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Commercial insurance market changing with evolving economy: Swiss Re


The commercial insurance market is changing in the face of an evolving economy in the U.S. and rapid economic growth in emerging markets, a new sigma study released by Swiss Re on Wednesday finds.

The study, “Insuring ever-evolving commercial risks,” says the growth of commercial insurance in emerging markets is outpacing growth in advanced markets by a factor of two to three. “Commercial insurance in high-growth markets such as China benefits not only from an expanding economy, but also from increasing penetration, so premiums tend to grow faster than the economy,” Kurt Karl, chief economist at Swiss Re, said in a statement.

Nonetheless, the recent spate of natural catastrophes in many of these markets has highlighted the need for further commercial insurance penetration.

“Property risks are increasing, and their nature is broadening from traditional property damage to business interruption and even to less well-understood contingent business interruption risk, which includes company supplier disruptions,” added Roman Lechner, co-author of the sigma study, in a statement. “Yet globally, CBI insurance coverage remains low.”

The needs of the U.S. market, the world’s largest with some 40% of the annual $600 billion in commercial premium volume, also are changing, the report finds. The need for liability insurance is rising in importance as the U.S. shifts toward a knowledge-based economy, Swiss Re said.

“The growth of the services sector, which is more exposed to liability risks than the manufacturing sector, is one reason for the increasing importance of liability protection,” Thomas Holzheu, sigma co-author, said in a statement.

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