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Japan Leads in Average Per Capita Insurance Spending

August 16, 1995

ZURICH, Switzerland (AP) _ Japanese consumers spent more per person on insurance in 1993 than people in any other country, according to a study by a major reinsurance company.

Japanese consumers spent an average $4,395 per person on insurance, followed by the Swiss, who spent $3,097 and Americans, who spent $2,192, according to the Swiss Reinsurance Co., who sponsored the study.

The Japanese use life insurance primarily as a means of savings, which accounts for the high volume in premiums, the study said. Japan has a high rate of savings relative to other industrialized countries.

In 17 of the 78 markets surveyed, consumers spending on insurance exceeded $1,000. In other countries, less than $20 was spent on all types of insurance in 1993, according to the report.

After the United States, the top insurance purchasers were Great Britain, the Netherlands, France, Luxembourg, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Canada, Sweden, Ireland, Australia, Finland and Belgium. Seventy-eight countries were part of the survey.

Asia had the highest share of life insurance business, largely because of Japan, and is followed by Africa. The study found that the life insurance market was low in the Americas, amounting to 42 percent in North America and 22 percent in South America.

Japan’s spending on insurance premiums comprised 12.6 percent of its gross domestic product - the highest of any country surveyed. It was followed by South Africa, with 12.2 percent, Zimbabwe with 11.7 percent and Great Britain with 11.7 percent.

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