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Property and Casualty Insurance Services: Competitive Conditions in Foreign Markets

Investigation No. 332-499
USITC Publication 4068


U.S. property and casualty insurance services providers face nontariff measures in many countries that hamper their efforts to expand business abroad. Even a small reduction in such measures could increase both cross-border insurance exports and affiliate sales significantly, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) in its report Property and Casualty Insurance Services: Competitive Conditions in Foreign Markets.

Prepared for the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to provide background information for discussions in the World Trade Organization and other fora on property and casualty (P&C) insurance, the USITC report examines the global market for P&C insurance services, the nature and extent of trade in P&C insurance services, policies and practices that affect U.S. firms’ access to, and competitiveness in, foreign markets for such services.

The USITC found:

  • A multitude of nontariff measures (NTMs) limit access to and competition in the 72 country markets for P&C insurance researched.

  • Many of the countries most encumbered by NTMs also have the highest insurance premium growth rates and the lowest levels of insurance penetration, making them attractive markets for U.S. firms if their restrictions were reduced.

  • Liberalization by the most restrictive countries, many of which are developing countries, could promote economic development and stability by providing individuals and businesses with the means to manage risk at more affordable prices.

  • NTMs inflate the profit margins of P&C insurance companies currently operating in many of the countries examined at the expense of domestic consumers.

  • Cross-border exports and sales by U.S.-owned P&C insurance affiliates abroad would expand markedly if foreign restrictions were liberalized, thereby increasing earnings and employment for firms in the United States.

  • The P&C insurance markets of developing countries are growing faster than those of developed countries.

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