An easy way to measure the size of the UK market is through its main source of revenue – the amount paid by policyholders for their insurance policy, also referred to as insurance premium. In 2018, the UK life insurance sector generated close to 236 billion U.S. dollars in gross written premiums. Another crucial role of the insurance industry is the investment insurers carry out with the premiums earned. After France, the UK has the second largest investment portfolio in Europe. Actually, in 2018, the UK accounted for one fifth of European insurers’ investment portfolio.
The life insurance market in the UK is fairly unconcentrated compared to many other European ones. In 2017, there were almost 170 active life insurers, with the largest ten insurance providers making up approximately 70 percent of the gross written premiums. The top two insurers in the UK by number of plan owners were Aviva and Legal & General in 2018.
Another way to evaluate where the UK life sector stands is to look into its density - the ratio of premiums to the total population. In 2018, the UK ranked fourth by insurance density, with over 3.5 thousand U.S. dollars per capita, meaning that if all UK citizens had life insurance, this is how much they would be paying annually. Unlike health insurance, life insurance is not compulsory in the UK and not everyone has it. In fact, approximately one in three people in the UK have life insurance, less than the 42 percent in France, but more than the 31 percent in Germany.