McKinsey Quarterly

An open road for life insurance

Purchases of life insurance surge at a relatively high income threshold.

The inflection point for market takeoff in life insurance is relatively high: sales rarely surge until GDP per capita reaches about $30,000. Higher income levels, particularly when reinforced by cultural preferences for locking in financial security, correlate strongly with insurance-market penetration. As emerging markets get richer over the next decade, they will fuel more than 80 percent of life-insurance companies’ global growth.

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For more on our research, see “Life journey: Winning in the life-insurance market,” March 2014.

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