Over the past decade, life insurers have struggled with growth and profitability. By focusing on three priorities, insurers can reinvent themselves and reestablish their vital role in customers’ lives.
The future of life insurance: Reimagining the industry for the decade ahead
The global life insurance industry has seen significant changes over the past decade. Developing economies—predominantly emerging markets in Asia that were formerly small contributors—have become global growth drivers and now account for more than half of global premium growth and 84 percent of individual annuities growth. The availability of data has skyrocketed, and insurers have made progress in advanced analytics and artificial intelligence. Digital and mobile advances have raised the bar on transparency and service quality: customers can now file claims and access agents, insurance quotes, and policy information with a few taps on a screen.
The past decade has also introduced new challenges. Life insurers have not benefitted from the bull market. Global penetration fell to 3 percent, and premium growth within most developed markets, hovering just below 2 percent per year, struggled to match GDP. Globally depressed interest rates curtailed investment portfolio returns. More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has depressed global interest rates even lower than those seen in the 2007–08 global financial crisis, leading to disproportional impact on life insurance stock relative to the rest of the market.