May 2019

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Observations from industry leaders

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Aug 2018

Hong Kong is home to some of the most experienced insurance professionals in the world. Here they share some thoughts with Asia Insurance Review about 30 years of insurance in Hong Kong.
The market landscape today is nothing like what it was three decades ago. Emerging issues like a widening protection gap, medical inflation and concerns over retirement security are driving the need for better insurance solutions. As the ageing population’s demand for retirement security escalates, we are also committed to offering wealth management solutions that support customers in achieving long-term goals. 
AIA Hong Kong & Macau
CEO Peter Crewe
Over the last 30 years, technology has dramatically driven developments in the Hong Kong insurance market. The pace of changes that most notably impact us happened over the last five to 10 years. 
For customers, the greatest development over the last 15 years has been the ability to purchase insurance online through a multitude of channels, providing greater choices and speed of service. We have also used advances in technology to accumulate data and build models that enable our clients to measure and manage their risks much more effectively. This is where we will see the greatest impact in the future.
Increasing demand for highly personalised services, adaptive AI and the broad arena of InsurTech are some of the areas that will fundamentally shift the way we do business. Only those brokers who adapt and focus on value adding will survive in the long term.
Willis Towers Watson Hong Kong
head of corporate risk and broking Ted Hodgkinson
The Hong Kong insurance industry has developed significantly over the years. It is highly competitive, matured and profitable but fragmented at the same time. Many players compete for the same pool of customers. Although insurance penetration is high, we continue to see new growth areas in line with increasing affluence. For example, the demand for health insurance and products to meet the needs of an ageing population is growing. 
Given Hong Kong’s small geography, distribution channels remain primarily the same; face to face channels such as agency and brokers are still preferred. We’ve also started to see a shift to and take-up of digital tools which provide an enhanced customer experience. 
Increased regulations have also led to greater transparency. This has several benefits such as giving customers confidence and ensuring stability of the market. On the other hand, the industry has had to bear increased compliance costs.
Zurich Asia Pacific 
CEO Jack Howell
Looking back at the past 30 years, Hong Kong’s insurance industry has grown from strength to strength with a reputation as a leader in the region for technology, best practice and regulation. 
From a technology and best practice perspective, the market has grown at an extraordinary pace, moving from simple products distributed almost exclusively through agents to a multi-channel, sophisticated market. Customers can now buy insurance through their agent, their bank, a broker and online. Products range from simple term life and whole of life to more sophisticated wealth management solutions. 
At the same time, regulation has kept pace with the developing industry. Hong Kong has always led the way in ensuring the market remained competitive and delivered value for consumers. While initially self-regulated, the new Hong Kong Insurance Authority will continue to drive best practice regulation and oversight. We expect that the HKIA will ensure Hong Kong continues to strike the right balance between protecting the interests of consumers and ensuring the healthy development and growth of the insurance industry.
EY Asia-Pacific
insurance sector leader Jonathan Zhao
With one of the most developed insurance markets in Asia, Hong Kong looks to the future with robust prospects to advance the industry further. People in Hong Kong are living longer, growing their wealth and are taking personal stock of their health and well-being. Retirement and succession planning are also becoming more important to people in Hong Kong. As a leading life insurer in Hong Kong, HSBC Life believes that the convergence of these needs will continue to build a dynamic and relevant insurance market and enable us to play an important role in helping our customers meet their aspirations. 
New drivers will also transform insurance in Hong Kong. This thriving market is increasingly attracting not only international customers but also investments in the sector. Digital is changing the way customers choose to interact with insurance providers. We expect more products and services to be delivered in a simpler, faster and more secure manner using technology. We are looking forward to exciting developments in this space.
HSBC Insurance, Hong Kong
CEO Edward Moncreiffe
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