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Oct 2022

Editor's Message

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Aug 2020

It’s August. Spread of COVID-19 notwithstanding, there is still that rave or panic about what to do this summer even in Asia. Summer dreams are just so much a part of the happy days that one cannot help but seek that elusive fun before summer ends. But how?
At business, there is bad news everywhere and loads of ‘dos and don’ts’ though the rule book is weak on capitalising on the opportunities inherent in the risks that come with the pandemic. There is also the fear of being seen as ‘opportunistic’ in these times as, COVID-19 aside, the typhoons and floods have come early too.
This would have been the August with Olympian fun in Japan and the insurance industry preparing for its EAIC high in Seoul. But all that is postponed. 
Our country profile is on South Korea, a market that is a leader in many ways revisiting long-term strategies and facing up boldly to the problems of the day with a population that is hi-tech and demanding of high quality customer service, COVID-19 notwithstanding.
On the COVID-19 report card, the compulsory use of masks is still debated even as the second wave comes. The numbers are growing but with seemingly less fear. Many rejoice with the Oxford test results on the vaccines’ success in raising immunity - though it will be some time yet before it can be fully endorsed and rolled out commercially. 
Along with working from home and tech-savviness comes the spike in cyber attacks and the need to manage cyber risks at all levels, even from home. So how are insurers responding to this need? 
APAC insurers seem to have passed the global stress test, but the fear hangs on the claims as yet unquantified and many wonder if Asia is spared the rising BI claims that seem rampant in the west - the whole chorus of ‘no BI claims allowed if no actual physical damage sustained’. Then there is also the whole employees’ liability claims arising from working from home and, believe it or not, they are now talking of ‘lockdown depression and burnout’.
Looking at business beyond COVID-19: Yes there is another world, too, but for the moment it is eclipsed by the pandemic factor. InsurTech and driverless cars are still making much headway, though quietly.
Is the downtime the right moment to re-energise resources to be ready for the post-COVID-19 tomorrow? Many seem stuck in just trying to get through the day. But there are yet others who are going ahead full-steam with great narratives for the future. The world is rich and rewarding if only one knows where to look.
To end on a high, I salute the winners of our milestone 5th Asia’s Trusted Life Agents and Advisers Awards announced in July. The stars shine bright when the summer nights are dark. The enthusiasm of the winners and their supporters on Facebook and social media assures us that the future for agents and adviser is bright. How can life insurers not win even if premiums globally are forecast to shrink by 6% this year?
The very best of August to all even if summer is almost at the end.
Sivam Subramaniam
Asia Insurance Review
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