Mar 2019

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Editor's Message

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Feb 2019

February comes with the jollity of the Lunar New Year. This time it is the Year of the Earth Pig that ends the rotation of the 12-year cycle. Hence everyone expects 2019 to be ‘festive and relaxed’ and beneficial to all – and definitely better than 2018.
Business this month will be slower as the Lunar New Year is celebrated over 15 days in the Greater Bay Area among the Chinese. In China, most factories and plants take a real break too. 
This February we go full-steam ahead – or full-tech ahead – looking at the tech-world of 24/7 and the tech runners and speedsters who shape business actively and aggressively – as well as subtly and passively. The focus is not just on using data but the move to big data and the spur that tech gives the insurance business through new product demands. We also look at the growing pains of living with tech – be it cryptocurrency or blockchain or cyber exposures or just getting your senior management and staff to see tech as a friend and not as a foe. 
Looking around, it amazes me that many managers don’t realise that sheer resistance or benign ignorance of tech is the single fastest way to a corporate suicide – without exception. 
This February we also draw on stories of the demands made of regulators in keeping up with a public that is often more tech-savvy than the insurers or supervisors could ever be. This, then, is the great divide today: Who is driving the business in real terms? We face the stark reality of the long-preached mantra ‘customer is king’ coming back to bite us. Can we meet the king’s demand for instant ‘tech-brosia’ or do we manage the king’s expectations by telling him that too much ambrosia too soon is not in his best interests, given the technical realities of insurance, which is a promise to pay on a future date, should a ‘foreseeable’ accident/event happen?
On the ground, we bring you a focus on Korea and how the associations are still very actively involved in guiding the insurance industry even today in the search for growth. Korean consumers are the most tech-savvy and insurers themselves are looking for that tech ‘X-factor’ to be the winner. The relentless search is on in this huge insurance market of the world. 
With the Earth Pig, there is also hope that natural disasters this year will be less than the record levels of 2018. Nat CAT and cyber losses are being computed in the trillions of dollars. Does one drool and rush in or stay away afraid? Can one? Being strictly technical means the price becomes unaffordable to the buyer – who might prefer to self-insure and invoke divine help for protection. The January renewals sent confusing signals as everyone was banking or betting on different sets of factors coming into play at a particular time or place. Tough call for the board of corporate buyers and the sellers of protection at a time when markets are especially volatile and profits are down and everyone looking to cut costs.
But it is the Lunar New Year. So we end in hope with expectations from the Earthy Babe. 
I wish all our readers the very best of spirits and fortune for the Lunar New Year.
Sivam Subramaniam
Asia Insurance Review
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