NEEDHAM, Mass.-- North American insurers currently are pursuing global expansion at a pace rivaling that of European insurers' entry into US markets in the early 1990s.  TowerGroup finds that more favorable economics, key demographic trends and the gradual dissolution of international barriers to entry underscore the high growth possible for U.S. insurers in key emerging markets.

"TowerGroup believes that the most compelling emerging markets for North American insurers are South and East Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and Latin America," said Cindy Saccocia, senior analyst in the Insurance practice at TowerGroup and author of the research.  "Swiss Re found that the inflation-adjusted growth rates for life and non-life insurance premiums for these emerging regions were 6.6% and 8.5% respectively in 2003.  This is compared with 2003 growth rates in industrialized countries of negative-1.7% for life insurance premiums and 5.7% for non-life premiums."

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