If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then U.S. insurance companies are making their contribution to this well-worn axiom.North American insurers currently are pursuing global expansion at the brisk pace rivaling European insurers' foray into U.S. markets in the early 1990s, according to a recent report by Needham, Mass.-based research and advisory firm TowerGroup.

Favorable economics, key demographic trends and the gradual dissolution of international barriers are pacing U.S. insurer expansion in emerging markets such as South and East Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and Latin America, says Cindy Saccocia, a senior analyst at TowerGroup and author of the research on global expansion.

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