Brazilian insurance regulator SUSEP recently released premium growth results and predictions that were both somewhat lower than previous predictions.

SUSEP reports that insurance premiums grew 15.1% in 2008 to R 67.3 billion (approximately US $29.1 billion), off somewhat from SUSEP’s mid-November estimate that it expected annual premium growth to reach 17.6%. Further, December 2008 premiums came in only 12.5% higher than December 2008.

Armando Vergilio, the regulator’s Superintendent, also cited the global financial crisis in revising downward the agency’s prediction for premium growth in 2009 from 16.2% to 8-12%. Mr. Vergilio further commented that it is difficult to predict what lines are most likely to grow fastest, noting that much depends upon how the broader Brazilian economy performs. Nonetheless, Mr. Vergilio offered guarantee, life and rural coverage as areas he expects to see premium growth in Brazil in 2009.