Global insurance industry grows steadily in 2015 amidst moderate economic growth but outlook is mixed, Swiss Re sigma report says

  • Total insurance premiums in India grew by 7.9% in 2015[1] owing to stronger growth in life and non-life premiums
  • Life premiums growth witnessed a turnaround in India, growing by 7.8% in 2015
  • Insurance penetration in India remained low at 3.44% in 2015 reflecting large untapped potential

Global insurance premiums grew by 3.8% in real terms[2] in 2015, amidst variations in regional growth rates, Swiss Re’s latest sigma report says. The overall performance was steady after a 3.4%-gain in direct insurance premiums written in 2014, and coming in an environment of just moderate (2.5%) global economic growth, the latter a key driver of insurance demand. There was a slight slowdown in the life sector in 2015, with global premium growth dipping to 4.0% from 4.3%, due to weaker performance in the advanced markets. On the non-life side, strong growth in the advanced markets of Asia, and improvement in North America and Western Europe, contributed to a 3.6% increase in global premiums, up from 2.4% growth in 2014.

Emerging markets:

In the emerging markets, overall life premium growth almost doubled to near 12%, supported by strong performance in emerging Asia, particularly China. Growth also improved in Latin America but was slower in the Middle East and Central Asia, and Africa, and premiums contracted in Central and Eastern Europe. The non-life sector maintained its robust premium growth trend (+7.8%), primarily driven by China.


In India, total insurance premiums grew strongly by 7.9% in 2015, compared to a contraction of 1.2% in 2014. The improved performance was aided by stronger growth in both life and non-life premiums.

Life premiums growth witnessed a turnaround in India, growing by 7.8% in 2015, compared to a contraction of 2.1% in 2014. The recovery was underpinned by investment-linked products which posted strong growth through bancassurance channels. Non-life premiums growth also picked-up, growing by 8.1%, compared to a growth of 2.2% in 2014. Growth was led by stronger health (including personal accident (PA)) and motor third party liability (MTPL) premiums.

Meanwhile, insurance penetration in India remained low at 3.44% in 2015 compared to the global average of 6.23%, reflecting large untapped potential. Robust economic growth and Government enabling policy actions/initiatives are expected to increase insurance penetration and will act as a catalyst for future growth of the industry.

Swiss Re

The Swiss Re Group is a leading wholesale provider of reinsurance, insurance and other insurance-based forms of risk transfer. Dealing direct and working through brokers, its global client base consists of insurance companies, mid-to-large-sized corporations and public sector clients. From standard products to tailor-made coverage across all lines of business, Swiss Re deploys its capital strength, expertise and innovation power to enable the risk-taking upon which enterprise and progress in society depend. Founded in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1863, Swiss Re serves clients through a network of around 70 offices globally and is rated “AA-” by Standard & Poor’s, “Aa3” by Moody’s and “A+” by A.M. Best. Registered shares in the Swiss Re Group holding company, Swiss Re Ltd, are listed in accordance with the International Reporting Standard on the SIX Swiss Exchange and trade under the symbol SREN. For more information about Swiss Re Group, please visit: or follow us on Twitter @SwissRe.

How to order this sigma study:

The English, German, French, and Spanish versions of the sigma No 3/2016, World insurance in 2015: steady growth amid regional disparities are available electronically on Swiss Re’s website:

Printed editions of sigma No 3/2016 in English, French, German and Spanish are available. The printed versions in Chinese and Japanese will be available in the near future. Please send your orders, complete with your full postal address, to

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