Nov 2020

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Editor's Message

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Nov 2020

Time flies, faster perhaps in the pandemic, although most of us are still working from home. 
It is November. No one knows where the world is heading although everyone is traditionally busy with the renewals and the business of drawing up budgets for next year. This is an especially tough exercise as no one can predict the basic assumptions that need to be made. 
COVID-19, which spun all 2020 budgets and predictions out of whack, remains dominant. More than 40m have been infected by the virus although the death rate is low - and noticeably lower in Asia than in Europe and the US. 
When will COVID-19 be brought under control? When will people start daring to travel – and will business return to normal now that people have discovered the power of technology and high-tech meetings that produce hi-touch effect too? Will business ever get back to the old normal? 
What is clear is that the top risks today are pandemic, climate change and cyber risks and persistent low interest rates. For insurers, the question of trust has resurfaced as the major hit with parametric solutions being touted as the ideal way to go. Although more than $5bn in premiums were returned in the pandemic – including with less driving in the lockdown – what stands out are denied claims for business interruption with no physical damage. 
It is really a time to go ‘unconventional’ and be innovative as opportunities abound for agile minds. Don’t just translate old ways online – that is a recipe for disaster and losing clients. The real aim is to deepen customer service without being intrusive or scaring clients into thinking that you have too much data on them. But there is hope for all, especially when you look at the M&A taking place and the InsurTech businesses that are getting listed at phenomenal multiples.
Our November edition is a bumper issue with the cover story on reinsurance. Reinsurance is more than a fundamental need of insurers and it also has the power to re-set the boundaries of the insurance industry. The SIRC Re-Mind is a most welcome platform in lieu of the postponed 
17th SIRC to give the reinsurance community in Asia a visible medium for the start of the 2021 renewals. One of our highlights is the interview with Mr Dennis Kessler, a visible doyen of the reinsurance industry driving home several hard-hitting truths on the business of reinsurance.
Our country profile is on China, which stands out as an outlier that is seeing real economic growth driven by visible private consumption with 4.9% GDP growth in the third quarter even as other markets around the world are reeling with shrinkages or stagnation. We get insights from the special adviser to the chairman of Ping An P&C, seen as the top insurance company in the world in terms of premium figures, on what makes them tick. It is all about making the short-term stress work for you.
Finally it is November: The time to salute the best in the industry. 
When the skies get dark, we need the stars to shine. And the winners of the 24th Asia Insurance Industry Awards will stand tall to win kudos for the insurance industry. My heartiest congratulations to the winners.
Sivam Subramaniam
Asia Insurance Review
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