Major insurers are currently experiencing limited growth opportunities in the developed economies of North America and Western Europe. In 2015 emerging markets accounted for just over 7.26% of global insurance premiums, according to Axco's report 'Embedding Insurance in the Frontier Markets: Partnerships for Emerging Opportunities'. The potential opportunities are considerable: per capita spend on insurance in emerging markets (excluding China) is a mere 3.21% of that in advanced markets and the average insurance penetration in emerging economies actually decreased by 0.09% in 2015.
Closing the protection gap particularly in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa offers the greatest opportunities, bolstered by an increased demand for insurance from a growing population and middle class. This is tempered however by the fact that insurance markets in many emerging countries are relatively immature compared to their western-based counterparts and, as mentioned above, there can be significant barriers to entry and investment, many of which may be cultural as well as legislative.