The report, produced in conjunction with iPipeline – a provider of cloud-based software solutions for the life insurance and financial services industry – showed that sales of individual protection policies fell 1.2% to 2.16 million last year.
Analysis shows that the market achieved its highest level of new business since 2004 the previous year, with more than 2.18m individual policies purchased in 2019.
According to Swiss Re, this latest report now indicates that a “mix of national lockdowns” and “sluggish economic output” may have put households off insuring themselves and their families.
It was also discovered that income protection packages were the hardest hit, with sales falling by 9.5% after “several years of growth”.
Abbie Marlow, client manager at Swiss Re, said: “2020 will always be remembered as the year Covid-19 changed our lives. We often see when people are under financial pressure that insurance tends to be one of the first places they look to cut costs.
“While the long-term impact of both on the insurance market remains to be seen, it’s encouraging to see that, in the main, protection sales actually fared reasonably well against such a challenging backdrop.”
She added: “Many of the difficulties faced have not gone away however, so it will be interesting to see whether peoples’ increased awareness of their own mortality and health, coupled with the resulting financial impact, leads to an uptick in demand for protection in the years to come.”