Maintaining resilience as a new world order takes shape

Swiss Re Institute sigma 5/2022

The role of P&C insurance in a new world order will be to maintain resilience as the global economy undergoes fundamental changes

Armonk, NY (Sept. 9, 2022) – The pandemic and war in Ukraine have heightened concerns over national security in different fields, including food supply. Increasingly, we expect local and regional self-preservation instincts will come to underlie policy decisions, with three main tenets leading to a new multi-polar world of blocs of economic influence.

A realignment global supply chains

The pandemic served as a wake-up call for advanced economies to become more supply-chain resilient, not least to mitigate hold-ups to delivery in key sectors such as healthcare and electronics. To strengthen supply chain resilience, many advanced countries have been discussing “re-shoring” and “friend-shoring” part of overseas production activities back home, and raising local procurement rates. Despite reducing overall trade, in this sigma we simulate that reshoring would boost global GDP by 0.2% over five years, with the US, UK and Germany benefitting most. Export-substitution countries with higher external trade dependency such as Mexico and Vietnam lose most in a reshoring scenario but, conversely, gain most from friend-shoring activity.

From the insurance angle, we estimate that the same reshoring activity would generate USD 30 billion in global commercial insurance premiums over five years, mostly from engineering, property and liability covers. Marine and trade credit premiums would fall. Friend-shoring would generate USD 3 billion in premiums.

The world faces supply chain disruptions, and energy and food crises. Insurance is becoming even more vital, supporting the global economy with protection against the risks inherent in the shift to a new multi-polar world order.
Jerome Jean Haegeli, Group Chief Economist, Swiss Re

The green transition

Heightened concerns over energy security because of the war Ukraine has focussed attention on the need to accelerate the transition to green energy. Many countries have targets for investments in renewable energy capacity and we estimate that meeting those targets would generate cumulative global insurance premiums of USD 237 billion by 2035 from, for example, construction and engineering all risk covers. These premiums will in part replace business from fossil-fuel risks as insurers pull back from underwriting the latter.

Food security

We expect that deglobalisation, the second-order effects from high energy prices and climate change impacts will keep food prices elevated. In a multi-polar world of more fragmented trade flows, countries highly dependent on food imports (many low-income countries) will be most exposed to disruptions to supply chains. Agricultural insurance can be a key tool in maintaining food security: we forecast a near-doubling of global agricultural premiums by 2030.

About Swiss Re

The Swiss Re Group is one of the world’s leading providers of reinsurance, insurance and other forms of insurance-based risk transfer, working to make the world more resilient. It anticipates and manages risk – from natural catastrophes to climate change, from ageing populations to cyber crime. The aim of the Swiss Re Group is to enable society to thrive and progress, creating new opportunities and solutions for its clients. Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, where it was founded in 1863, the Swiss Re Group operates through a network of around 80 offices globally. For more information, please visit

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SOURCE: Swiss Re

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