The Hong Kong Insurance Authority (IA) yesterday launched its Belt and Road Insurance and Exchange Facilitation (BRIEF) platform, to bring together insurance and risk expertise with the aim of realising the potential of China's Belt & Road Initiative (BRI).
“BRIEF aims to serve as a forum for exchanging ideas, identifying opportunities and creating solutions that will enable projects to happen,” said Dr Moses Cheng, IA chairman, at the inaugural Asian Insurance Forum (AIF) yesterday organised by the regulator. Through BRIEF, the IA hopes to establish Hong Kong as a global risk management centre and a regional insurance hub.
A total of 29 insurers, reinsurers and insurance brokers have already signed up to join BRIEF.
Membership of BRIEF spans the following groups –
- Mainland, Hong Kong and foreign enterprises engaging in projects and commercial activities connected with BRI;
- Insurance companies and professionals involved in BRI including direct insurers, reinsurers, captive insurers, insurance / reinsurance brokers and captive managers;
- Other professional service providers e.g. legal, accounting, logistics, engineering, architectural and consulting firms; and
- Investment promotion agencies, trade associations, chambers of commerce and industry organisations.
At the AIF, Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam voiced unwavering support for the growth of the territory’s insurance sector in her keynote address. She highlighted the initiatives of her administration that place insurance at the top of the development agenda – specifically in the areas of marine, insurance-linked securities, captives, regulation and more.
Mrs Lam stressed the need “to have a nimble regulator” in the form of the IA which had got off to “a flying start”. While the IA was only established in December 2015 and took over regulatory functions in June 2017 from the now defunct Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, it has already undertaken initiatives in such areas as InsurTech, and taken moves towards facilitating a risk-based capital framework, direct licensing, liaising with China about accessing the mainland insurance market – as well as promoting insurance to the general public.
The keynote luncheon at the AIF featured Mr Paul Chan, Hong Kong's financial secretary, who highlighted the unique role of insurance in infrastructure projects in the region. He said, “Bankable projects must be in the first place sufficiently insured and reinsured such that risks are shared sensibly. Thus, increasing infrastructure projects in the region not only creates demand for financing but also demand for insurance and reinsurance to make them bankable.”
The AIF was attended by over 400 local and overseas delegates.