Global insurance premium reached more than $3.8 trillion in 2016 — a new record high — and China appears to be a factor behind much of the growth, according to new projections from Allianz Research.

The number, excluding health insurance, reflects a 4.4 percent increase over the previous year. That’s nearly $160 billion of additional premium over 2015, about $74.6 billion of which came from China, the Allianz Research calculation noted.

“That means [China] is responsible for close to half of last year’s growth,” Allianz Research noted in its research publicity. “Without China, the insurance world would have achieved growth of only 2.7 percent.”

Much of that growth in China came in the life insurance segment, which reflects just under two-thirds of global insurance premiums. Without its rapid development (30 percent growth in the Chinese life insurance market), global life insurance growth would have dropped from 4.7 percent to 2.3 percent in 2016, Allianz Research said.

While China’s life insurance market expanded rapidly (contrasted with a slump in life markets such as Western Europe), its growth in the P/C insurance market was more measured. China’s P/C insurance market grew 9 percent. Globally, the P/C segment expanded by 4 percent, which Allianz Research said was the weakest rate of growth since 2010, following five years of growth averaging more than 5 percent.

China’s P/C growth reflected one-fifth of the global P/C market growth in 2016, Allianz Research noted.

Meanwhile, the Western Europe P/C market grew 2.1 percent in 2016, the second time since the financial and euro crisis that the rate of growth has climbed past 2.1 percent.

Allianz Research noted that the Western Europe share of the global market contracted to 27 percent in 2016, reflecting a broader trend. It’s a big decline from 36 percent a decade ago.

A global P/C market slowdown in 2016 reflected a drop in the momentum of the global economy and global trade, both of which failed to meet expectations in 2016, Allianz Research said.

Excluding health insurance, the U.S. continues to have the largest share of the insurance market in terms of gross written premiums, with the number hitting $1.2 trillion in 2016. Japan, China and the UK followed, respectively.

Click here to look at the Allianz Global Insurance Map in detail.

Source: Allianz Research