30/06/2021 - As preliminary data become available for 2020 around the globe and against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, insurance companies seem to have experienced a slowdown in gross premiums written, especially in the life sector. Gross premiums written increased in both life and non-life sectors in only 15 out 53 reporting jurisdictions, fewer than in 2019. In contrast, premiums declined in both life and non-life sectors in 10 jurisdictions, in the life insurance sector in 19 other jurisdictions only and in the non-life sector in 9 other jurisdictions only. On average, non-life insurance premiums grew by 1.2% in 2020 while life insurance premiums declined by 2.2%.
Date of publication
28/01/2021 - Before COVID-19, gross premiums were still mainly on the rise in the life and non-life sectors in 2019. An increased demand for some life insurance and non-life insurance policies, such as motor insurance, likely accounted for this expansion of insurance business worldwide. As premiums grew, claims payments also increased in a number of countries. However, a relatively mild year for catastrophe losses meant that claims payments were not as high as they might have otherwise been. Overall, underwriting performance was positive and improved for non-life insurers in 2019. Stock markets were also buoyant, after financial losses in the last quarter of 2018. Insurers benefitted from this upturn in stock markets and achieved positive investment rates of return in general, especially among those that invested a significant share of their assets in equity.
About the report
The insurance industry is a major component of the economy by virtue of the amount of premiums it collects, the scale of its investment and, more fundamentally, the essential social and economic role it plays by covering personal and business risks. This annual report monitors global insurance market trends to support a better understanding of the insurance industry's overall performance and health.
The OECD has collected and analysed data on insurance such as the number of insurance companies and employees, insurance premiums and investments by insurance companies dating back to the early 1980s. Over time, the framework of this exercise has expanded and now includes key balance sheet and income statement items for the direct insurance and reinsurance sectors.
This monitoring report is compiled using data from the OECD Global Insurance Statistics (GIS) database. The geographical reach of the GIS database is constantly expanding and now covers 59 jurisdictions. In addition to OECD countries, this includes: a number of non-OECD Latin American countries, achieved through cooperation with the Association of Latin American Insurance Supervisors (ASSAL); several non-OECD countries in Asia; as well as Lithuania, South Africa and Tunisia.
This monitoring report and the GIS database provide an increasingly valuable cross-country source of data and information on insurance sector developments for use by governmental and supervisory authorities, central banks, the insurance sector and broader financial industry, consumers and the research community.
See alsoOECD insurance statistics publication