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Cedric Stephens | Global insurance brand predicts France will win 2018 World Cup

Published:Sunday | June 17, 2018 | 12:00 AM
France head coach Didier Deschamps talks with Antoine Griezmann during France’s official training on the eve of the Group C match between France and Australia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia, Friday, June 15, 2018.
France headcoach Didier Deschamps gestures during France's official press conference on the eve of the group C match between France and Australia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia, Friday, June 15, 2018.

Lloyd's of London, one of the world's leading insurance brands, released a report two days before the start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. It said that France will win the competition. The research was conducted in association with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

The CEBR boasts that its "predictions have a strong track record of forecasting accuracy at international, national, and even company level, placing us consistently in the top handful of United Kingdom economics teams and winning us awards and headlines".

The researchers used a similar method to correctly foretell the winners of the 2014 World Cup. Their prediction is based on data, specifically, the insurable values of the 32 teams that will be competing in Russia.

The collective value of all teams participating in this year's tournament was estimated at £13.1 billion. France's team has the highest insurable value, £1.4 billion. Local football fans, in contrast, base their choices of the competition's top performers not on economic data, but on qualitative and emotive factors.

England and Brazil, with insurable values of £1.17 and £1.1 billion, respectively, along with France, will have the three most expensive teams in the competition, the average insurable value of one England player is more than the entire Panama squad (see table on Lloyd's website -


Highlights of the analysis:


Group G, which includes Belgium, England, Panama, and Tunisia, has the highest insurable value at over £2.3 billion.

Colombia, Japan, Poland, and Senegal will battle it out in the 'Group of Death' for a place in the knockout stages, with just £26.5 million separating the three teams in terms of valuation. Group H will be the most competitive in the tournament.

Having plotted the teams' paths right through to the final, Lloyd's predicts that Germany will fail to retain their title and France will be crowned World Champions.

The analysis also provides insights into the average insurable values of players: a) forwards are the most valuable players - their legs are worth £19.2m on average; b) midfielders have the largest share of total squad insurable value (38 per cent); and c) players aged between 18-24 years old have, on average, the highest insurable value at £20m.

The researchers used players' wages and endorsement incomes, alongside a collection of additional indicators, to construct an economic model that estimates players' incomes until retirement. These projections formed the basis for assessing insurable values by player age, playing position, and nationality. The analysis enabled Lloyd's to predict who would qualify from their respective groups. Thereafter, Lloyd's has plotted the path of each team in the knockout stages based upon their insurable values. The team with the highest insurable value in each match is the team Lloyd's predicts to win and progress.

The research was supported by Sporting Intelligence, who provided anonymised footballer salary data for each of the 32 teams participating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, based upon an indicative 30-man squad for each nation.

"Our model correctly predicted the winner of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, so we wanted to put it to the test once again. The analysis makes interesting reading for football fans who are preparing for the most popular and widely viewed sporting event in the world. The contrast between the teams at the top and bottom in terms of insurable value is staggering, with the top six national teams worth more than the other 26 combined. We can't wait to see if some teams can defy the odds and make it through and if the favourites can prove their worth," said Victoria De'Ath, Lloyd's Class of Business.

Germany, Brazil, and Argentina are the Jamaican favourites to win the trophy. These countries' flags appear most frequently on vehicles in Kingston and St Andrew. My observations were confirmed by this newspaper: "Vendors say flag sales indicate Brazil, Argentina, and Germany are faves."

Their FIFA rankings as at June 7, were 1, 2, and 5, respectively. France was ranked at 7. How will the local predictions compare with those made by the data scientists at Lloyd's and the Centre for Economic & Business Research?

Local sports officials have started to ask whether Jamaica's national team, The Reggae Boys, can make it to the 2022 World Cup competition.

It will be held in Qatar. The development of football, they say, has advanced since the country first made its journey 20 years ago. Its FIFA ranking is now 48.

Questions: Is an estimate of the total insurable value of the local team critical to the country attaining the mission of getting there? What is that value?


Response to last week's column


Last week's column "The complicated business of health insurance", yielded a response from a US-based colleague. He is one of the Caribbean's leading experts on the subject. He supplied the following information:

"It was only in the last two decades, or so, that maternity benefits, in general, became payable under health plans. Before that, the expenses were not considered eligible since they did not meet the requirements of "unexpected and medically necessary."

Benefits were available under some of the more sophisticated plans on the payment of additional premiums. They were granted to married women ONLY.

"Except in the US, where state laws mandate that maternity must be treated as 'any other illness' and not be subject to sublimits, maternity benefits are usually subject to limits per pregnancy: normal delivery, Caesarean section, and miscarriage. This means that until the baby is delivered, the insurer will strictly monitor the prenatal expenses to ensure that funds are available to cover the big event when it arrives, in whatever form."

Health insurance is not simple. It is affected by social, historical, economic, and legal forces.

- Cedric E. Stephens provides independent information and advice about the management of risks and insurance. For free information or counsel, write to: