European insurance market in second place in the world

According to the annual study published by Insurance Europe, the European (re)insurance federation, Europe is in second place of the world global insurance market in 2018, behind Asia-Pacific and ahead of North America.

In 2018, total insurance premiums in Europe were 1,311 billion Euros, increasing 6.2% compared to 2016. Life insurance accounted for 58% of these premiums, i.e. 764 billion Euros (+6.7%). With premiums of 407 billion Euros in 2018 (31% of premiums), non-life insurance was up by 5.7% over the year. Health insurance recorded growth of 4.8% in 2017, with turnover of 140 billion Euros.

The European insurance sector is the second in the world, accounting for 31,6% of global insurance premiums, behind Asia-Pacific (32.4%) and ahead of North America (30.8%).

France, Germany and the United Kingdom are the largest players on the European market.


 Insurance premiums by country in billions of Euros (2018)

United Kingdom (UK) 241.6 Turkey (TR)  9
France (FR) 219.4 Czech Republic (CZ) 5.7
Germany (DE) 202.4 Greece (GR) 3.7
Italy (IT) 135.1 Hungary (HU) 3.2
The Netherlands (NL) 72.1 Luxembourg (LU) 2,7
Spain (ES) 63.3 Slovenia (SI) 2.3
Switzerland (CH) 51 Slovakia (SK) 2.2
Denmark (DK) 31.8 Romania (RO) 2.2
Sweeden (SE) 31.3 Croatia (HR) 1.3
Belgium (BE) 27 Bulgaria (BG) 1.3
Finland (FI) 23.4 Cyprus (CY) 0.9
Irland (IE) 17.6 Malta (MT) 0.6
Austria (AT) 17.3 Estonia (EE) 0.4
Norway (NO)  16 Latvia (LV) 0.3
Poland (PL) 13.9 Liechtenstein (LI)  0.02 
Portugal (PT) 11.7    


In 2018, European insurers paid out 1,311 billion Euros to their insured parties. Of this figure, 764 billion was paid under life insurance contracts (insurance contracts payable on survival, on death, etc.), 407 billion under non-life insurance contracts (mainly motor and property insurance) and 140 billion under health insurance contracts.

The insurance sector is the European Union’s leading institutional investor. European insurers invested more than 10,300 billion Euros in the economy in 2018, i.e. the equivalent of 58% of the EU’s GDP. 

Finally, in 2018 the 3,200 insurance companies operating in Europe directly employed 900 000 people.