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While the U.S. insurance market is highly competitive and saturated providing little room for growth, international insurance is highly lucrative and rapidly growing. MetLife (NYSE:MET) is looking to tackle this market with recent moves as the largest insurance company in the U.S. with total assets of over $730 billion as of December 31, 2010. MetLife competes with AIG (NYSE:AIG), The Hartford (NYSE:HIG), Prudential Financial (NYSE:PRU) and New York Life Company.

We have a price estimate of $48.83 on MetLife‘s stock which is about 9-10% above the current market price. The international insurance division constitutes 18% of the Trefis price estimate for MetLife’s stock.

(Chart created by using Trefis' app)

International Insurance at a Glance

Internationally MetLife operates in Japan and 64 countries within Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. MetLife is the largest life insurer in Mexico and also holds leading market positions in Japan, Poland, Chile and South Korea. International markets are the fastest growing of segments of MetLife’s business and has the potential to become the company’s largest source of value in the future.
Key Drivers of International Insurance

MetLife’s share of international insurance market was stable at around 0.15% during 2006 to 2009 but jumped to 0.19% in 2010 after MetLife acquired ALICO from AIG. In 2010, MetLife reported only a month’s result of ALICO in its operations and thus a full year of operation of ALICO will again boost MetLife’s market share in 2011-12. MetLife’s growing international footprint will help it to further diversify its geographic mix and product offering and increase its distribution strength.

2) International Insurance Premium Market

The total market size for international insurance premiums increased gradually from $2.5 trillion in 2006 to about $3 trillion in 2008 at a compound annual growth rate of 9.1% before dipping in 2009.

As the prospects for life insurance remain positive, we believe insurance premiums are expected to grow in the long term-trend. The recovery of financial market is likely to stimulate the growth of unit-linked products, thereby pushing up the sales of saving products and in turn boosting the premiums of insurance companies. The long term prospects for life insurance remain favorable in light of demographic trends in many developing countries.

(Chart created by using Trefis' app)

See our full analysis of MetLife.

Source: MetLife Sets Sights on International Growth