Jan 2021

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Editor's Message

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Dec 2020

Soon it will be Christmas. 
But the COVID index virulently surges ahead. Some markets are seeing the third wave and beyond, more lockdowns and the virus mutating to other mammals too. There are more than 60 million cases with almost 1.5 million people dead. 
The Year is ending but COVID-19 rages on. Businesses are all planning their budgets with several scenarios, with no real assumptions on when COVID-19 will come under control. The discovery of two vaccines with more than 90% guarantee has lifted hopes but it is still a long stretch from the home run. Already global leaders are queuing up for affordable equitable to these vaccines. Distribution will be tough and the conditions to store these vaccines is punishing too.
So we await a brand New Year still hoping the roaring 20s will kick in somewhere in 2021. But for now just staying alive is very much the key issue. The world is in an economic crisis, many jobs are lost, savings down, geopolitical tensions high. Health remains that paramount top priority world over. There is no easy breathing with the mask of COVID-19 worn, though with fancy prints. Some come with Yuletide and New Year prints.
At the desk, still at home, we still go on about how COVID has, despite the travails, also given new vistas for COVID-related products, working from home covers, increased protection for mental health, innovating with pay per use in motor, and heightened digital risk profiles. Most companies leapt forcibly into digital with no preparations in the work from home era. Along with digital resilience comes increased cyber and data risks too.
Our Country Profile is on Vietnam where life is doing well and InsurTech is booming as market strives to be international. We have a quick Spotlight on Pakistan where the regulator is pro-actively trying to help market get above the COVID hits.
We bring you highlights of the “SIRC RE-MIND”, a mega-show astounding everyone with the pull and the sheer message of proactive resilience shown by reinsurers as they redefine to face the challenges. The big draw is also the spread on the winners of the 24th Asia Awards who hold the baton to help boost the image of insurance in society. 
Though everyone says working from home makes them busier, the public seem to have become more engaged in green and ESG matters. Insurers are under pressure to take on a leadership role to sway companies to move towards clean, renewable energy. The young millennials are seriously checking out the green record or the social consciousness or diversity and inclusive action of insurers before buying from them. 
On the hard core, there is a dilemma as fraudulent claims against insurers rise and insurers come under sharper spotlight to be more accepting of claims beyond just the contract and in the spirit of what was intended. With Social Media, non-stop tweets and echo-chambers, trust image of insurance has become a big issue.
The list goes on but to end on a positive high, we see a rising wave of accolades for what insurers are doing to forge a better and kinder tomorrow.
Surely somewhere someone out there is taking charge to send out the wise Men. Don’t they know it’s Christmas?
Sivam Subramaniam
Asia Insurance Review
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