Brazil: According to SUSEP, the Brazilian insurance regulator, total premiums for February 2009 reached R$ 5.4 billion (US$ 2.57 billion), an 11.3% increase from February 2008 but a 3.2% decline compared to January 2009. Taken together, total premiums in January and February 2009 (excluding health insurance) were 3.8% higher than the same period in 2008.

Chile: Total premiums in the Chilean general insurance market in December 2008 reportedly increased by 21.9% (US$ 378 million) when compared to December 2007. Total premiums rose from US$ 1.7 billion in December 2007 to US$ 2.1 billion in December 2008.

Costa Rica: The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganaderia) has reportedly transferred ¢1 billion (US$ 1.8 million) to the Instituto Nacional de Seguros to subsidize crop insurance for the nation’s agricultural producers. The subsidy, which is expected to represent 30% to 60% of the total premium for the average producer, applies to crops identified as strategically important under the National Nutrition Plan, including rice, beans, corn, potatoes, onions, plantains and yuca. The MAG is expected to make an additional ¢1 billion later this year, and reportedly hopes to attain crop coverage for 60,000 hectares of cultivated land.

Venezuela: The Asamblea Nacional’s second session of discussion regarding the new proposed insurance law (Ley de Seguros) began May 11. Representative German Ferrer, member of the Subcommittee on Banking and Insurance, reportedly commented that the law will provide protection to consumers by regulating the industry in a way necessary to end violations of consumer rights and guarantee better customer service. For more information on the proposed law, please click here.

Bolivia: Total premiums in the Bolivian insurance market in January 2009 reportedly increased by 16.6% when compared to January 2008, totaling US$ 21.89 million for the month.