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Editor's Message

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Jun 2018

It is June. The royal wedding is over. Summer is in ‘full steam ahead’ mode, as is the state of global uncertainty with geopolitics and terrorism – made worse by the increasing number and pace of cyber attacks and threats. 
   May was a hectic month with the 29th EAIC in Manila taking centre stage and making waves for the insurance market as CEOs outside the industry weighed in to challenge the traditional thinking of insurers. There were warnings like, ‘If you can rate a risk so low without information, what justification will you have to raise the rate with more data?’ 
   Then there was the open challenge that a bank found it cheaper to self-insure rather than buy the cyber cover offered – which was narrow and too expensive. But in true Philippine spirit, the EAIC, with some 700-odd delegates, did raise hopes for all in insurance with so much fun and levity in the regional camaraderie created over the years. 
   And then there was also the Asia Trusted Life Agents & Advisers, which saw 11 winners from seven markets. The paparazzi present at these awards, and the sheer admiration for the game, showed how important agents were in the insurance value chain. They truly bring insurance to the man in the street with a human face and warm heart. We salute the winners.
   This June, our cover story is on how tech is abuzz. We zero in on marketing insurance in the digital age and how technology has fired insurance with a plethora of InsurTech apps, blockchain, cryptocurrency and autonomous cars. Regulation is bending over backwards to create space for tech, even as regulators all over are stepping up with tighter rules on other fronts, including RBC, stricter fines and IFRS17. Tough options.
   Our country profile is on Thailand, a market still brimming with potential, and reinsurers are helping to go that extra mile to improve penetration and the regulator is right out there to get insurers to embrace technology.
   We have a special focus on China’s belt and road initiative (BRI) to tie in with the world’s first ever insurance summit in Singapore with the theme ‘Getting Ready for a New Risk Landscape: An Insurance Dream’. Nay-sayers aside, the BRI will connect some 65 economies and 4.4bn people – with $30bn worth of commercial premiums to be generated. Who is in the game to at least check out the real potential, politics and prejudices aside? 
   In Asia, much is happening on the health protection front where the gap at $1.8tn is now estimated to be 10 times larger than previously projected. Agriculture is another hot and passionate issue blending microinsurance and innovation for farmers even as they fear the wrath of climate change. With old being gold, we revisit the life market and look at what insurers are doing to help protect the elderly living beyond their savings. And we reprise the perennial need for better risk management to keep up with disruption. 
   It is June. Do chill to get your second gust for the second half of the year that looks set to be just as challenging with the 15th SIRC with the theme: ‘Reinsurance Reloaded’ being top on the agenda for all.
Sivam Subramaniam
Asia Insurance Review
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