Insuring the whole world's population would cost just $190 trillion, which we now know thanks to advances in cloud technology

 
Hayley Kirton
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Advances in cloud technology have made this calculation possible (Source: Getty)

The cost of insuring 7.3bn people might be less than you think, according to figures out today by Willis Towers Watson.

The insurance giant has calculated that it would cost just $190 trillion (£133.5 trillion), or roughly 2.5 times the world's GDP, to provide everybody on the face of the Earth with a $100,000 whole-of-life insurance policy.

The calculation was made possible by Microsoft's Azure cloud platform, which completed the feat of mathematics in around 90 minutes, while a standalone computer would have still being chugging away at the numbers 19 years later.

"This was a fascinating exercise to test cloud computing and software technology to the limit and push the calculation boundaries for insurers," said Stephen Hollands, Saas & vGrid global product leader at Willis Towers Watson. "It demonstrates how industrialised risk modelling has become and how much processing power, speed and accuracy insurers have at their fingertips to price their products and manage risk and capital."

Jonathan Silverman, insurance industry solutions director at Microsoft, added: "What question is bigger for a life insurance company than figuring out the cost of insuring the entire world's population? Answering this complex question, in less than 24 hours, is a genuine technological triumph."

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