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Editor's Message

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Feb 2018

It’s February! The festivities still continue with the Lunar New Year. And with this being the Year of the Dog, “Loyalty” will shine despite sceptics saying that in the digital era, empowered consumers are doing price/benefits comparisons daily with one click. It is the year of the Dog, surely goodness and good fortune will come to the faithfuls who show loyalty no matter what the economics.
   In that vein, our Cover Story, targeted at the 18th Asia CEO Summit this month in Singapore, is on customer-centricity as a CEO priority. CEOs have to see winning the hearts and minds of customers as the new real battleground. Can you buy the heart of a consumer in insurance? Is insurance still a vague notion? Does the consumer know what he can buy as insurance? What are the risks and fears he can transfer to the insurer in peace? These questions need to be urgently and seriously answered. 
   Last month, I had an eye-opening session with some 100 new entrants to the insurance industry – all of whom are super-eager and devoted to setting the world on fire with insurance. They were eager to see personalised insurance products made and sold to every man and corporation. So CEOs need to wake up to the fact that cutting and pasting London-centric products or commoditising insurance just won’t cut it in the new era if the passion of these newcomers is anything to go by. They believe in insurance as a touch and feel product for all buyers to enjoy. So must we, the old hands in industry, keep pace with the dream of the millennials.
   Insurance has the data at hand to work this out. Data is the most valuable resource today. Our curtain raiser to our 3rd Asia Big Data & Analytics Conference in March, highlights the need to harness the power of data as an asset as key strategy for insurers. Use the right analytics to get the right strategic data to Open Sesame.
   Data and digital comes under our special spread on cyber risks, identified even at the World Economic Forum as one of the top risks facing the world. Insurers need to protect the immense personal data they collect which is needed for risk assessment and the responsibilities faced by Boards to establish cyber resilience urgently. There is too much at stake even for insurers, let alone looking at the business opportunity of selling cyber protection, bearing in mind how a cyber attack can bring a business to a standstill.
   On another note, from the vantage position of our Asia Trusted Life Agents Awards, I stress the amazing role that agents play in bringing the “life” of insurance to the lives of the people through the various CSR projects they do for their clients in the name of selling insurance. Digital cannot replace the human touch, AI notwithstanding. So do get your outstanding agents to take part in our 3rd Agents Awards ( It is the only cross-border, cross-company Awards that recognise the X factor of Agents and Advisers. Nominations close on 28 February 2018.
   Our Country Profile this month is on South Korea, an insurance powerhouse that is turning in a stellar performance, keeping great pace with the dynamic economic growth as insurers – both local and foreign – grapple with market shares and InsurTech. 
   We just concluded the India Rendezvous last month with record numbers (720) from more than 35 countries attesting to the great potential of India’s reinsurance market. The US$6 billion reinsurance premium ceded currently is miniscule compared to the real potential in the market whose drivers of insurance are seeing phenomenal impetus. It is a success story waiting to happen!
   With that positivism, I wish all of you the very best for February, the shortest month of the Year and great tidings for the Year of the Dog. Woof! Woof!
Sivam Subramaniam
Asia Insurance Review
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