Several of my clients are interested in the insurance industry. The Association of British Insurers provides an excellent overview of the (2007) UK market:

• Largest in Europe and now second largest in the world – 11% of total worldwide premium income
• Employs 309,000 people – a third of all financial services jobs
• Controls 15% investment in London Stock Market
• Paid £6.2m in liability claims (accidents at work, professional liability, injuries to the public on commercial premises etc)
• Has 1,017 companies authorised by the FSA
• Top 10 general insurance groups account for 71% of the business written
• Total net premiums amounted to £32.9 billion

Between 1997 and 2007, claims paid increased by 57%, from £14.2 billion in 1997 to £22.3 billion in 2007.

The proportion of people buying insurance through brokers has fallen from 55% in 1997 to 34% in 2007. 16% is now sold by banks and building societies – 10 years ago the figure was less than 5%.

Within life and pensions, 75% of business was sold by Independent Financial Advisers. This compares with 59% sold this way in 1997.