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>> CENTRAL AMERICA


Enrique J. López Peña, Chief of management information for Seguros America (Managua, Nicaragua) Insurance Macroeconomic Environment in Central America and Panama - Period: 01/01/2000-12/31/2009



In this report, Enrique J. López Peña, chief of management information for Seguros America (Managua, Nicaragua), presents a brief analysis of the insurance macroeconomic environment in Central America and Panamá. His report is based on statistical information contained in the Balance Sheets for the period from January 1st of 2000 to December 31st of 2009 for the Insurance System of each country in this region, as published by their respective Regulatory Agencies.


Introduction

This article, entitled “Insurance Macroeconomic Background – 2000-2009” is intended to offer an overview of the macroeconomic impact that insurance has in the Central American region and Panama. This publication is found of interest as it provides a summary, on a country-by-country basis, of the management results experienced by the various sectors involved in the insurance industry (insureds, insurance carriers, reinsurers, insurance brokers, etc.) in response to the economic plans implemented by each country’s government.
Data for this article were taken from the website of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), more specifically from a document called “Statistical Yearbook for Latin America and the Caribbean 2009”. Also, data were taken from central banks and insurance and reinsurance control authorities from each country in the isthmus and from the Instituto Nacional de Seguros de Costa Rica (INS) (Costa Rican Insurance Institute).
In this regard, this document offers information at a regional and country level, in both absolute and relative terms, on the evolution of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the GDP per capita, insurance premiums and per capita premiums, population growth and the development in terms of market share, i.e. the insurance premium / GDP ratio.
The information presented in this article may help conduct an assessment of the presence of insurance in each country's economy, as well as of future prospects. According to the ECLAC Statistical Yearbook, the population is estimated to reach 51.55 million in 2020, a 21% increase compared to the 48.63 million inhabitants estimated in 2009.
Regional Outcomes

The total population of Central America and Panama grew from 35.71 million to 42.63 million in the period 2002-2009, with an absolute variation of 6.92 million (19.4%). During that same period, insurance premiums climbed from USD 1,281.1 million to USD 2,783.8 million, i.e. an absolute increase of USD 1,502.7 million (117.3%). In turn, the per capita insurance premium grew from USD 35.87 in 2000 to USD 65.30 in 2009 (an 82% increase). The penetration of insurance in the regional economies rose from 1.86% to 2.11% (↑13.9%).
This change was possible thanks to the development of the economies in the isthmus which, taken as a whole, experienced a GDP growth of 90.8% in the period 2000-2009, with a 59.8% increase in the GDP per capita (see Table 1). The implementation of various plans undertaken by insurers’ management and the support of reinsurers further contributed to this development. Charts 1, 3 and 4 provide a comparison of the changes in the economic variables mentioned above, broken down by country. In turn, Table 2 presents a series of indicators for the period 2000-2009 where it is possible to see the trends for the different countries.
Outcome by Country

Nicaragua

With GDP increasing from USD 3,938 million to USD 6,149 million (up 56.1%) and a 38.85% growth in the GDP per capita during the period 2000-2009, the market share (that is to say the insurance premium/GDP ratio) improved from 1,3% to 1.8%. In view of this development, insurance premiums grew by 115.52%, whereas premiums per capita increased by 91.65%.
Honduras

Between the years 2000 and 2009 the Honduran GDP rose from USD 7,187 million to USD 14,308 million (99.1%), while the GDP per capita showed a 66.1% variation as it climbed from USD 1,153.47 million to USD 1,915.96 million. As a result, the Premium/GDP ratio improved from 1.77% to 1.97%. In view of this development, insurance premiums grew by 121.5%, whereas premiums per capita increased by 84.8%.
El Salvador

Between the years 2000 and 2009 the Salvadoran GDP rose from USD 13,134 million to USD 21,100 million (60.7%), while the GDP per capita showed a 37.4% variation as it climbed from USD 1,153.47 million to USD 2,875.12 million. As a result, the Premium/GDP ratio improved from 1.64% to 2.09%. In view of this development, insurance premiums grew by 104.8%, whereas premiums per capita increased by 75.1%.
Guatemala

Between the years 2000 and 2009 the Guatemalan GDP rose from USD 17,195 million to USD 36,460 million (112%), while the GDP per capita showed a 69.8% variation as it climbed from USD 1,153.47 million to USD 2,601.2 million. As a result, the Premium/GDP ratio improved from 1.19% to 1.26%. In view of this development, insurance premiums grew by 124.6%, whereas premiums per capita increased by 79.9%.
Costa Rica

Between the years 2000 and 2009 the Costa Rican GDP rose from USD 15,946 million to USD 29,302 million (83.8%), while the GDP per capita showed a 56% variation as it climbed from USD 1,153.47 million to USD 6,338.5 million. As a result, the Premium/GDP ratio improved from 1.97% to 2.11%. In view of this development, insurance premiums grew by 97%, whereas premiums per capita increased by 67.3%.
Panama

Between the years 2000 and 2009 the Panamanian GDP rose from USD 11,620 million to USD 24,349 million (109.5%), while the GDP per capita showed a 79.4% variation as it climbed from USD 1,153.47 million to USD 7,070.1 million. As a result, the Premium/GDP ratio improved from 3.18% to 3.59%. In view of this development, insurance premiums grew by 136.6%, whereas premiums per capita increased by 102.5%.
Translator: Adriana Caminiti

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