Atlas Magazine April 2013

Atlas Magazine, ten years on

On the occasion of the publication of its 100th issue, Atlas Magazine’s editorial team takes stock of its last ten years of activity.

For the watchful eye, insurance news in the last decade plays out over five major trends.

The first one is quantitative. Expressed in American dollars, premiums have increased by 394% in the Middle East, by 170% in sub-Saharan Africa, by 165% in the Maghreb, by 105% in Asia and just by 42% in OECD countries. At the country level, growth record goes to Angola (+675%) closely followed by the United Arab Emirates (+673%), China (+500%) and Saudi Arabia (449%). During the same period, growth in the United States was confined to 19.8%.

The second aspect of the analysis reveals the strong resistance of the insurance business to the economic crisis. AIG’s ups and downs are a good illustration of this resilience. Bailed out by the government, it took the American giant only five years to bounce back and pay off all its debts.

The third trend relates to the natural catastrophes which are growing in number and getting more onerous. During the last decade, the market has withstood Katrina, the cyclone of the century (2005), the Tsunami of the century (Indonesia 2004) and the nuclear catastrophe of the century (Fukushima, 2011).

Fourthly, the insurance markets remain dominated by giant groups. This trend towards concentration is developing in Africa with the establishment of new pools such as NSIA, Saham.

In conclusion, we note the opening in recent years of insurance towards new markets such as microinsurance and takaful.

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