Things are moving: In which direction one knows not. Is the unstoppable force hitting an immovable object? This is the poser we bring you this June as the world tries to come out of the lockdown in stages. Oil prices aside, the global economy is stuttering with unemployment at a record high.
The COVID-19 reality is still stark: Of the 4m coronavirus-infected, more than 400,000 have died. We are still far away from any immediate vaccines as there are some 10 variants of the COVID virus, they say.
It is a whole new world even if some are toying with opening up even faster. However, as I write this editorial no country is accepting visitors and flights are only carrying citizens returning home - and even they must go through a 14-day quarantine period.
Insurance is directly facing the impact too – although the industry is not one of the top 10 most affected. COVID-19 loss estimates with business interruptions is being put beyond that of the 9-11 World Trade Center incident. Some say it could go beyond $130bn. Reinsurance is already seeing red and needs to get harder prices to recover and be sustainable.
With the reality that business must go on, we bring you a host of interesting reads with several innovative and wild ideas too: The rise of the digital-only insurers; can motor go the way of pay-as-you-use with the value of car ownership and motor insurance being spotlighted by the lockdown; and even a reasoned actuarial call for pre-disaster funding. In this COVID-19 pandemic, who stood the tallest in insurance – or were many trying to take cover in the crowds? There are heroes aplenty. Read on.
Our cover story is on the brave COVID-19 warriors in insurers from high seas mariners and warm hospitality marts. We also look at the changing health and Nat CAT landscapes where insurers are fighting hard to stay relevant without being overburdened as the bearer of all losses.
Our country profile is on Singapore where, during the highly disciplined ‘two-month circuit breaker’ stage, insurers went out of their way to help clients and agents even as their business was impacted badly. And in the country with frequent sudden thunderstorms, it is still tough coping with ‘when it rains, it pours’. The harder challenge was on the global hub business where people just needed that ‘face-to-face’ touch.
In making that salute to excellence among agents and advisers, this time we focus on the 62 finalists from 11 markets in Asia. It is amazing to see the lengths agents will go for their clients. There is an ‘illusive’ magic about this service, even in the digital era.
A whole new world is happening right in front of us. We come back to muse over the question if insurance is a just a science or a ‘beatific art’. Can insurance be re-imagined beyond contract wordings?
My very best summer greetings to all. The best is yet to be. We have come this far…
Asia Insurance Review