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Editor's Message

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Jan 2018

It’s a brand new year sparkling with hope and anticipation. 
   January always starts with great expectations and a sense of a new beginning, fresh ideas and initiatives. Everyone is resolved to make the year different – all recharged and set for the race. Will 2018 be different?
   Many readily buy into the optimism, given the truly difficult challenges of the year gone by in business, disruptions and disasters. Then, there are the usual laggards and Eeyore expecting same old same old, if not worse.
   I see 2018 as bringing great tidings to insurance as I do see more insurance CEOs and managers waking up to the reality that consumers can learn to understand and like insurance, if given the chance. I see more leaders doing town-halls with the theme of enriching the consumer experience and realising that consumers now know they have a choice, and each insurer needs to differentiate itself to be the insurer of choice. Going green, gender diversity and CSR are also big-tick items that sell a company to consumers.
   The force driving this “consumer focus” is technology, disruptive though it is. To engage it, insurers need to re-think insurance. 
   Our Cover Story this January is on the brave new world of insurance and one insurer has even narrowed it down to the ABC of it all – AI, Blockchain and Cloud. The tough words aside, consumers, especially the digital natives and the connected folks, are looking for just “simplicity, convenience and transparency”. Nothing more. 
   But what about price? This depends on which segment of the market you serve. In the current continuing renewals, price was still an issue as budgets have to be signed off on paper and coverages had to be scrutinised more realistically with the greater risks assumed. Though competition is still rampant and rife, there is a greater check on price slides and even hardening in the more affected segments, though there are still miles to go for full correction to reach risk adequate pricing as Asia is still a choice pick for many global players.
   At the personal consumer level, price is less of a sensitive issue than the intelligence of the coverage as consumers do all their own homework and know what they want. In the mass market, price still holds sway.
   Our Country Profile is on India, in step with our 11th India Rendezvous in a market still booming and growth projected to be phenomenal as IPOs draw greater interest in insurance and boost consumer awareness of insurance. The market is led by several outstanding committed insurance leaders who make an impact on the business front. 
   This January we also do a quick spotlight on a bold new market – Myanmar – where developing the insurance sector is a top priority in the government’s financial reform plans.
   We also bring you a full range of new ideas on a host of topics, including marine, investments, P&I Clubs, as well as life for the New Year, drawing from the richness of 2017 with all its ailments. We fly the AEC flag high knowing its time has come.
   It is a New Year, make sure you are geared for it. Arm yourself with fresh and realistic optimism to make a difference. As Einstein said: “Only fools try the same thing each time expecting a different result.” We are certainly not Einstein, but at least let’s resolve not to end up as fools this year. 
   In one of the Chinese dialects, 2018 is a pun on “sure to prosper”. Let’s embrace that mantra for 2018. Be prosperous in body, mind, soul and business.
Sivam Subramaniam
Asia Insurance Review
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