August is losing its holiday appeal with so much happening on the business front. The pace is still fast in Asia with digital and InsurTech bursting forth with new ideas and products at every nook and cranny. We now have our own Asia InsurTech Association launched in late July to give the hive of InsurTech activities a proper home and a good regional spin to it. The second space of activity is on the regulatory front, in addition to sandboxes to boost tech drives. Then, there’s the move towards a supra-regulator in China, and IRDAI’s bold moves to boost policyholder protection in India. Even Nepal is abuzz with changes on the microinsurance front.
Our cover story this August is on the life roundtable to stress the strong spurts in Asia’s life markets as we reflect on their achievements. There are strong pockets of growth in life, which makes up 60% of the insurance business in Asia. In markets like Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Japan, Macau, Singapore and Taiwan, life is even more dominant with at least a three-quarter share if not more, says the latest Swiss Re sigma figures for 2016.
On the non-life side, Nat CAT losses for first half of the year seemed to have eased a bit with only US$41 billion compared to $111 billion for the same period last year and a 10-year average of $100 billion, as per the latest comparative statistics from Munich Re. Insured losses were down to $21.5 billion, with Asia’s Cyclone Debbie off the Queensland Coast coming in as second worst with a $1.4 billion bill. The worst globally was the Peruvian floods in March.
Our Country Profile is on the dynamic market of Thailand – steady, stable and seeking sustainability as they say. We also bring you a spotlight on Myanmar, where the queue of suitors is getting long. Make sure you spruce up to get an early bite of this new emerging, but last of the big frontier markets.
Another great news is that, with the SIRC going annual from this year onwards, the biennial EAIC event has been set for May 2018. The Philippines organising committee is in full gear to get the numbers to rise with a catchy theme of “Managing Disruptions, Driving Change” that should appeal to both life and general insurers equally. The SIRC already has some 600 delegates registered with still three months to go and is set to surpass its previous record turn-out to at least 1,000 delegates. So those who have yet to sign up, do so now before your summer break.
Moving down the industry chain, we celebrated the 2nd Trusted Life Agents and Advisors Awards last month with 12 winners from seven markets and a special Jury Prize going to Cambodia. The night was indeed heady with a salute to the tremendous role that agents and advisers play as the face of the industry, even in the digital era. Mind you, the CSR that agents do in the name of sales prospecting is just awesome, and I believe that they hold the golden key to personalising insurance.
In the belief that it is the holiday month, we bring you a host of reading from a varied field – from cyber, bancassurance, Nat CAT, risk management, AI, Ageing, Investment Management to Sustainability.
With the work overflow, many regional CEOs would say “what summer holiday?” But as a traditionalist stuck in this heady era of change, I still believe in good old everlasting values and breaks. August is still a good time to play catch up, make the necessary tinkering in budget and manage shareholder expectations.
Happy summer holidays to all.
Asia Insurance Review