CHINA insurance industry happened to be the driving force behind nearly half the world insurance market in 2016, as initial projections indicated global insurance premiums rose 4.4 percent to $3.89 trillion.
Remove China from the equation, and the insurance world would have seen 2.7 percent growth, Munich-based German insurer, Allianz S.E., said in a statement last Monday.
The so-called “China effect” was particularly pronounced in the life insurance sector, due to its rapid growth in China and a slump in life insurance in other parts of the world, according to Allianz.
Allianz said its projections suggest that Western Europe achieved “very solid growth” of 2.1 percent last year, only the second time since the 2007 financial and euro crises behind 2015 that growth in the property/casualty business has managed to climb back past the 2 percent mark again.
Overall, the insurer said, the Western European insurance market stagnated, with its share of the global market contracting further to around 27% in 2016, compared with 36 percent 10 years ago
A handful of markets, including Italy and Japan, reported negative growth rates in 2016. Global gross written premiums in the property/casualty segment are likely to have increased by 4 percent, Allianz said, the weakest figure since 2010, after five years of growth averaging more than 5 percent
The company noted that both the global economy and global trade saw a drop in momentum last year.
China’s property/casualty insurance market felt the impact of the economic slowdown, reporting 9% growth, the first time it had slipped below 10 percent since the 1990s.
Allianz said this indicates that the global trend is much less reliant on China in the property/casualty segment historically less volatile than the life sector with only one-fifth of last year’s global growth attributable to the Chinese market.