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Going Global: State of Insurance Affairs

In the European Union (EU), a single European insurance market was created by the Third Non-Life Directive and the Third Life Directive. These regulations, effective in 1994, created a single market and permitted companies to offer insurance anywhere in the EU, with permission from authority in the head office). Additionally, consumers were allowed to purchase insurance from any insurer in the EU.

Global economic downturns affect the insurance industry on the assets side because of the reduction on returns from investments, and on the liabilities end by an increase in claims.

Global insurance principally relies on advanced economies. In 2008, Europe was the principal insurance region, contributing $1,753bn of premium income. North America came in second at $1,346bn, and $933bn was contributed by Asia. More than half of all premiums were contributed by the top four countries. Despite the fact that the US and Japan comprise only 7% of the global population, they accounted for 40% of world insurance.

In 2008, global insurance premiums increased by 3.4%, reaching $4.3 trillion. This heralded a landmark increase in the previous three decades of a decline in premium income, adjusted for inflation. Life premiums dropped by 3.5% and non-life premiums fell by 0.8%.

Insurance may be life insurance or non-life insurance, general or property/casualty. Worldwide, there are regulatory difference in insurance. Liability insurance provides broad coverage for the insured against legal claims. Liability insurance protection is twofold. It provides a legal defense against a lawsuit against the policyholder and payment (indemnification) upon a settlement or court order on behalf of the insured. Generally, insurance liability covers only negligence not wilful or intentional conduct of the insured.

Many types of insurance include elements of liability coverage. Homeowner's insurance, for example, generally includes liability that insures against a claim from a person who slips and falls on the homeowner's property. With automobile insurance liability components indemnifies the insured against the harm caused by a car crash to life, health or property.

All-risk insurance covers a wider range of perils or incidents excepting as noted in the policy. Peril-specific insurance is the opposite in that it enumerates covered losses noted in the policy. An all-risk car insurance policy covers all damages by the driver.

With expatriate insurance, organizations and individuals that operate outside of their home country can cover health, property, liability, automobiles, and business pursuits. For travelers and expatriates, travel insurance can be obtained for travel abroad. It typically covers medical expenses, personal liability, health care, and loss of personal effects. It typically does not include auto insurance coverage.

Insurance financing vehicles include no-fault insurance, which is typically used in the car insurance industry. Under no-fault car insurance, policy holders are indemnified by their insurer even when at fault for a car accident.

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