A trusted source of market information for managers and specialists in the re/insurance industry. The sigma series provides comprehensive analysis of trends in the global insurance markets, and also of strategic issues facing re/insurance and the financial services sectors.



sigma No 4/2018: Profitability in non-life insurance: mind the gap

The latest edition of sigma promotes the need for improved underwriting margins in most non-life primary markets. Pricing dynamics may have reached an inflection point with some moderate rate increase since late 2017, but it is too soon to declare a return to hard market conditions. We expect positive economic momentum to support earnings but this alone will not generate sustained improvement in profitability: more rate increases are needed. All told, insurance remains an attractive long-term investment opportunity, having delivered returns comparable with others sectors over the long run, and also offering diversification benefits.


sigma No 3/2018: World insurance in 2017: solid, but mature life markets weigh on growth

Swiss Re Institute's latest sigma examines the development of life and non-life premiums in the global primary insurance industry in 2017. Overall, global insurance premiums increased 1.5% in real terms to nearly USD 5 trillion. Global life premiums increased 0.5% to roughly USD 2.7 trillion, while global non-life premiums rose 2.8% to approximately USD 2.2 trillion. The study also includes a market outlook as well as a special anniversary double pager analysing worldwide premium developments since the late 1960s.


sigma 2/2018: Constructing the future

sigma No 2/2018: Constructing the future: recent developments in engineering insurance

Engineering insurance is a specialty line of business that provides protection against losses from unforeseen circumstances during the construction and operation of plant, buildings, and infrastructure. With annual premiums of around USD 21 billion, it represents only a small part (around 3%) of the overall commercial insurance market. However, without such cover many construction projects and the operation of vital machinery would prove prohibitively risky to undertake.


sigma No 1/2018: Natural catastrophes and man-made disasters in 2017: a year of record-breaking losses

Total insured losses from natural catastrophes and large man-made disasters were USD 144 billion in 2017. An active hurricane season in the North Atlantic, and a series of wildfire, thunderstorm and severe precipitation events across different regions pushed global catastrophe claims to their highest level ever recorded in a single year. Total economic losses were USD 337 billion, making an all-peril global catastrophe protection gap of USD 193 billion in 2017. Globally, more than 11 000 people lost their lives or went missing in disasters, while millions were left homeless.



sigma 6/2017: Life in-force management: improving customer experience and long-term profitability

For long-term sustainability, life insurers need to maintain a strong connection with their consumers. Increasingly, insurers are focusing on improving relations with existing policyholders by offering higher-value products, increasing persistency and improving claims management. This increased focus on existing rather than new business is about improving customers experience and enhancing long-run profitability. Profits on in-force life books can be improved by judicious asset management, optimal capital allocation and by reducing operating costs. Such actions can reduce the cost of providing cover and also lower prices for consumers.