China consolidated its position as the second largest insurance market globally in 2018, with total premiums reaching 575 billion U.S. dollars.
However, the Chinese market is currently still less than 40 percent of the size of the U.S. market and is also smaller than the three largest markets in Europe - Britain, Germany and France - combined.
The shortfalls serve to highlight the catch-up potential. Swiss Re Institute forecast that the Asia-Pacific region will account for 42 percent of the global premiums by 2029, mainly driven by China.
China's share of the global premiums went from zero in 1980 to 11 percent in 2018 and is forecast to reach 20 percent over the next decade and then surpass the U.S. as the biggest market in the mid-2030s.
Global insurance premiums passed the 5 trillion dollar mark for the first time in 2018, equivalent to more than 6 percent of the world's gross domestic product, the report said.
Led by the emerging markets, global insurance premiums are likely to grow by 3 percent in real terms over the next two years.
Life premiums will increase by 2.9 percent, well above the 0.6 percent annual average of the previous 10 years, with a bounce back in China as the main driver.