The Swiss Reinsurance company of Zurich says the world insurance business last year was dominated by soaring growth in sales of life policies.
Swiss Re said that in 1999 global premium income in the insurance industry, adjusted for inflation, recorded growth of 4.5 per cent.
The company said booming sales of life insurance policies accounted for most of the growth. Worldwide premium volume in 1999 amounted to $2,324 billion (SFr3,974 billion), with life insurance accounting for 61 per cent.
More than nine-tenths of premiums came from the industrialised world, where on average 8.7 per cent of GDP or $2,297 billion was spent on insurance.
Japan and Switzerland spend the most per capita on insurance.
A study in Swiss Re's "sigma" magazine shows that in the emerging markets, an average of just 2.7 per cent of GDP or $40 per capita was spent on insurance.
swissinfo with agencies