The insurance of countries
2011 witnessed an unprecedented series of natural catastrophes, devastating whole communities, and pushing global supply chains to breaking point.
It was a year when the social and economic value of insurance in supporting recovery and reconstruction after catastrophe was demonstrated particularly vividly.
Using a unique new methodology, we have measured 42 countries’ levels of non-life insurance against the level and frequency of natural catastrophes. This data creates a global map of insurance levels across countries at various stages of economic and industrial development, identifying those which are ‘better’, ‘moderately’ or ‘under’ insured.
Our findings highlight a major gap between the minimum levels of insurance needed to cover the economic losses catastrophes create, and the levels actually in place. Looking at data going back to 2004, the research shows 17 of these countries have an annual insurance gap of at least $168 billion. Surprisingly, perhaps, some of the 17 underinsured countries include high-growth economies such as China, Brazil, Mexico and Turkey.
As their asset values and industrial sectors increase, can these growing economies cope with another year of natural catastrophes like 2011?