Social and economic value of insurance

While insurance products will be familiar to most, the beneficial effects of insurance on well-being are often only poorly understood. It is therefore important to understand what insurance is and what it is not. Our primer on the social and economic value of insurance describes the traditional role of insurance and insurance companies, what benefits insurance has for society and the economy, and how governments and insurers can work together to preserve or even enhance those benefits.

In this section, you will also find reviews on the role and potential for insurance in emerging economies, particularly in the Middle East and Northern Africa region, and in Latin America.

Insurance can play a major role in developing countries, particularly those in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), according to a study by Roy Suter and Benno Keller of Zurich’s Government and Industry Affairs unit. Insurance supports business development and helps people to achieve greater financial security. It contributes to long-term economic growth by protecting against personal and business risk, and augments capital formation. Policymakers, regulators and market participants in MENA countries can help insurance live up to its potential by working together to create a climate supportive of the industry, contributing to growth in their respective countries.

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Latin America has experienced a remarkable recovery after suffering major economic and financial crises in the 1990s and the beginning of the new century. Since 2003, Latin America’s GDP has grown more strongly than that of the advanced economies. With Europe facing a debt crisis, the world views Latin America as a source of stability, a sign of remarkable change. This positive development has been led by a strong expansion of domestic demand and was helped by high prices for natural resources and food, the region’s main exports. More sustainable domestic policies and a growing financial sector also have made an important contribution to these improvements.

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Featured resources

Insurance and technology
Technology is opening the door to new markets, especially in the developing world. (PDF/707KB)
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What is the role of insurance in economic development?
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this release as pdf