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The EU Insurance Market
Aug 5, 2001

According to a recent survey released by EUROSTAT close to four thousand firms provide insurance in the European Union in 1999. The number of insurance providers decreased since 1995 by 11%. Life insurance providers are 27.1 % of all firms and non-life insurance providers are over 56%. The number of composite insurers is close to 237 or 6.2% of the total. There are 385 specialist reinsurers. Since 1995 the number of life-insurers has increased while non-life insurers has decreased by 5%.

British life insurers represent nearly 30% of all EU life insurers, while there is no dominant market for non-life insurance with the United Kingdom, Germany, France and the Netherlands representing close to 60% of the market. Luxembourg concentrates over 65% of the specialist reinsurance market.

The total premiums written generated by EU insurance enterprises amounts to 756 198 Million Euro in 1999, up by nearly 50% compared to 1995. 42.6% of EU premiums by life insurance enterprises are written by British enterprises, while German enterprises write 35.3% of non-life insurance enterprises premiums. German specialist reinsurers, although representing only 10.9% of all EU specialist reinsurance enterprises, represent three quarters of EU premiums written.

Non-linked products with a share of 65.6% of the total still largely dominate the EU 2 life insurance product portfolio, but are however slowly loosing market share over the years. Looking at individual Member States, a few countries show a different trend. This is the case for Denmark and Luxembourg.

Motor vehicle insurance represents slightly over one third of EU 2 non-life insurance premiums, closely followed by health and accident insurance (26.1%). Fire and other damage to property insurance comes third with a 18.7% market share. At Member States level, the share of motor vehicle insurance varies between 22.3% in the Netherlands and 60.4% in Italy.

Accident and health is the dominating product in Germany (35.8%) and the Netherlands (46.3%), while Denmark records the highest level of premiums in fire insurance with 40.8%.

The combined ratio for EU non-life products varies from 73.3% for credit and suretyship to 112.4% for fire and other damage to property. Claims ratio range from 46.6% for credit and suretyship to 87% for motor vehicle insurance. Cost ratios are lowest with 19.4% in Accident and health and around 30% in general liability, fire and property and assistance, legal expenses and miscellaneous financial loss insurances. At national level both claims and cost ratios show wide differences.

Total investments by EU insurance enterprises amount to over 3.5 Bio Euro 3 , or nearly five times the level of gross premiums written. In the Euro-zone they amount to 2.3 Bio Euro, and grew by 68.3% in the period 1995- 1999 in the Euro-zone. The full report may be downloaded at Eurostat at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/eurostat/Public/datashop/print-catalogue/EN?catalogue=Eurostat&theme=4-Industry%20and%20Commerce&product=KS-NP-01-028-__-I-EN

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