Motor price cutting is the main culprit, says Swiss Re

UK non-life gross written premiums (GWP) fell by 1.8% to $107bn (£63bn) in 2013, according to Swiss Re’s Sigma world insurance study.

The UK was one of only two of what Swiss Re describes as advanced economies to suffer a drop in GWP. The other was Italy, whose non-life GWP fell by 5% to $51bn.

The Swiss Re report said: “In the UK, premiums declined again as strong competition led to weaker rates, particularly in motor.”

The report also showed that underwriting profitability of Western Europe as a whole improved “slightly”. The collective combined ratio for the four largest markets – France, Germany, Italy and the UK – was 96.5% in 2013, down from 97% in 2012.

The report said: “Reserve releases continued, while strong improvements in claims experience in Italy were offset by high natural catastrophe claims in Germany and the UK.”