Friday 17 September 2021

Costa Rica Insurance Spending Growing, Reaches Average of Latin America

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Annual average per capita expenditure on compulsory and voluntary insurance policies grew from US$140 in 2009 to US$246 in 2016, approaching the Latin American average, which stands at US$250.

In addition to an increase in the supply of insurance that came after the end of the market monopoly in 2008, insurers and authorities at the Superintendency also attribute the increase in spending to regulation of the “gray market” which existed before the opening. “… These were policies that were sold illegally during the monopoly and were concentrated in health insurance sector.”

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“… Data from the Association of Insurance Supervisors of Latin America (Assal) indicates that the per capita direct premium of Costa Rica was US$140, in 2009, a year after the rupture of the Instituto Nacional de Seguros’ (INS) monopoly. Average spending has since grown steadily reaching US$246 in 2016. Despite this progress, it is still below countries such as Chile with a per capita expenditure of US$645 per year; Uruguay with US$379 or Panama with US$362.” reports that “…The organization, which is part of the General Insurance Superintendence (Sugese), records insurance market data for 19 Latin American countries. The information does not include expenditure on public insurance such as that administered by the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) – Costa Rican Social Security Fund .”

For Elian Villegas, executive president of INS, one of the driving forces of the market is the inclusion of banking in the insurance business.

“When a home was bought, the banks were covered by a mortgage. Today, in addition to the mortgage loan banks are covered by a fire and earthquake policy, debtor balance and unemployment premium. The same with the purchase of a vehicle,” Villegas said.

For his part, Alfredo Ramírez, president of the Association of Private Insurers, emphasized that as more companies and product offerings exist, more policies are sold.

“We still need more work for greater penetration, I do not doubt that was achieved is because each company has been working its business niche. We do need more placements in life insurance,” said Ramirez.

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In 2009, 77 insurance products were available int he market; at the end of 2016, the amount rose to 664 products, according to the Sugese.

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