Best’s Special Report: Latin American Insurance Markets Could See Boost Should Economic and Political Risks Subside in 2020

AM Best expects Latin America’s economies to rebound somewhat in 2020, which would help the insurance markets in these countries better realize their growth potential.

In a new Best’s Special Report, titled, "Latin America: Economic and Political Risks May Subside in 2020," AM Best notes that countries in Latin America are coming off of two years of low growth and headwinds due to a number of factors. These factors included the end of the commodity price super-cycle, political instability and the resulting policy uncertainty, lower global and regional growth and volatile investment flows. Despite these challenges, the insurance markets remained resilient. Gross domestic product growth in 2020 is forecast to be 1.8% in 2020, following 0.2% in the previous year and 1.0% in 2017.

The economies of the countries in Latin America are diverse and dynamic, with great potential owing to abundant natural resources. However, the reliance on commodities makes the region vulnerable to external conditions and shocks. These countries are largely heterogeneous and differences can be attributed to individual reactions and exposures to domestic and external shocks. AM Best evaluates and incorporates country risk into all of its Credit Ratings, which entails identifying the various risks in a country that could directly or indirectly affect an insurance company. The risks are divided into three main categories: economic, political and financial system risks. Financial system risk is divided further into insurance and non-insurance risks.

Insurance penetration rates in the region average 2.3%, and given the low penetration rate, the region has significant potential for growth. However, premium growth, which peaked at USD 165 billion in 2013, has been below trend in recent years. Four of the top five markets—Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela—have not reached the level of 2013 premiums in recent years. Brazil, the largest market by premium, recorded USD 75 billion in 2013 and was approximately down by half in 2016, before rebounding slightly in 2017. Mexico, the region’s second largest market, has largely stagnated over the last few years. Venezuela’s market has collapsed completely and is unlikely to recover for some time.

Nevertheless, for the two largest insurance markets in Latin America, and for most of the region, AM Best expects that an improvement in the economic environment, externally and domestically, as well as a decline in political policy uncertainty, will boost the region’s insurance environment.

To access the full copy of this special report, please visit

AM Best is a global credit rating agency, news publisher and data analytics provider specializing in the insurance industry. Headquartered in the United States, the company does business in over 100 countries with regional offices in New York, London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico City. For more information, visit

Copyright © 2020 by A.M. Best Rating Services, Inc. and/or its affiliates. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Ann Modica
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