Since I started my career as a diplomat and free trader, I have been a vocal campaigner for globalisation. Today everything is in stark contrast. Through the global village the coronavirus has morphed into a pandemic and now the whole world is rooting for separation, isolation and social distancing.
As of now, the virus is immune to central banks’ tinkering as they did during the GFC a decade ago. Everything is uncertain and even leaders, big and small, have to admit that they don’t know what’s next. Some are predicting a great reprieve in summer when the kind-ol’ Sun will know what to do. Yet others are looking at a long winter of discontent with global recession on the cards.
The c-virus started in China and today it is great to see China sending its medical troops to Italy and Europe and the rest of the world to share their lessons learnt in the scare and shut down. Italian opera stars are belting out ‘Grazie Cina’ as I write this piece.
As for us, we see several insurance conferences all over the world being postponed or called off for now as a risk management measure.
We ourselves have postponed all our face-to-face conferences since the start of February. We are now venturing into the digital world to do virtual events and summits but without 5G the infrastructure is still wobbly and dependent on the user’s net connection. But it is a brave new world that we are being pushed into. Belt up and join us for the 1st Virtual Briefing on 7 April on ‘Survival Skills in the Era of Pandemics’.
The insurance industry is taking a big hit on this despite all the clever exclusions. But proudly it is showing its relevance to society and the economy where every business feels threatened and paralysed on several fronts. The stock market and investment climate vagaries add more pressure to underwriting returns. But more importantly there is a human calling to this whole problem to look at safety and peace of mind of staff.
Read our feature of brilliant articles on the impact of COVID-19 on businesses whose very survival is at stake. Fixed patterns are changing and may never return again say some looking at travel bans and remote meetings.
Our country profile is on Australia, a market that leads the region in its creative approaches to insurance despite being highly legalistic and tightly regulated. It offers some of the best examples in customer-centricity, risk management awareness and claims settlement too. But then it has to deal with the outcomes of the royal commission still.
Lastly, as the eternal optimist and fan of all things good including the insurance industry, I am proud to launch the 24th Asia Insurance Industry Awards to recognise and salute excellence. I believe earnestly that awards like this go a long way in supporting the industry’s march towards professionalism and higher standards. This set of awards is an annual exercise that concentrates our collective minds on what is good and what is great in insurance. Come take part. Be a winner in the fight against manic panic.
Asia Insurance Review