Insurance coverage brings peace of mind to citizens and businesses all over the world by shielding them from a range of unpredictable events. The Global Direct General Insurance Carriers market provides protection against the costs arising from a variety of property and casualty (P&C) events, such as auto accidents, natural disasters and medical malpractice. General insurers derive income from both insurance premiums and the investment of premiums in bonds, stocks and other asset classes. Most premiums are derived from the renewal of existing policies. Policy pricing tends to cycle from price cutting (softening) to price increasing (hardening). Generally, a hard market will lead to higher P&C premiums from one year to the next, without a change in risk coverage.
The past five years have been characterized by the industry's shift toward emerging markets to drive its growth out of the recession. From 2008 to 2013, IBISWorld estimates that industry revenue grew at a 2.1% average annual rate to about $2.1 trillion in 2013. Growth has been primarily driven by growing wealth and economic development in emerging markets, particularly in North Asia region, which has outpaced growth in mature markets in the United States and Europe. Many emerging markets experienced annualized premium growth in the high single digits; however, the worldwide recession and its lingering effects kept premium growth weak in most mature markets and contracting in Europe. High natural disaster losses in 2011 and 2012 have begun to soak up some of the industry's excess capacity and resulted in some price hardening in mature markets. Consequently, prices increased toward the end of 2011 and into 2012, suggesting the industry may be in the early stages of a hardening market. As a result, IBISWorld forecasts emerging market growth and slight price increases in the United States and Europe will increase industry revenue 2.3% in 2013.
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