General insurance or non-life insurance policy, including automobile and homeowners policies, provide payments depending on the loss from a particular financial event. General insurance is typically defined as any insurance that is not determined to be life insurance. It is called property and casualty insurance in the United States and Canada and non-life insurance in Continental Europe.
In the United Kingdom, insurance is broadly divided into three areas: personal lines, commercial lines and London market.
The London market insures large commercial risks such as supermarkets, football players, corporation risks, and other very specific risks. It consists of a number of insurers, reinsurers, P&I Clubs, brokers and other companies that are typically physically located in the City of London. Lloyd's of London is a big participant in this market. The London market also participates in personal lines and commercial lines, domestic and foreign, through reinsurance.
Commercial lines products are usually designed for relatively small legal entities. These would include workers' compensation (employers liability), public liability, product liability, commercial fleet and other general insurance products sold in a relatively standard fashion to many organisations. There are many companies that supply comprehensive commercial insurance packages for a wide range of different industries, including shops, restaurants and hotels.
Personal lines products are designed to be sold in large quantities. This would include autos (private car), homeowners (household), pet insurance, creditor insurance and others.
ACORD, which is the insurance industry global standards organization, has standards for personal and commercial lines and has been working with the Australian General Insurers to develop those XML standards, standard applications for insurance, and certificates of currency.
General insurance can be categorised in to following:
The United States was the largest market for non-life insurance premiums written in 2005 followed by the European Union and Japan.