In the spirit of May, we offer yet another bumper issue to read and relish.
I, for one, cannot resist the darling buds of May even if with global warming, the eye of heaven shines a tad too bright.
The corporate results for 2014 were promising, but somehow business in 2015 seems to be seeing dark clouds hovering everywhere. With no reprieve coming from rates, expectations are reverting to investment returns. But the global markets are volatile, and even IMF and World Bank are cutting back on growth forecasts.
So where can the shine of May come from?
In our 25th Anniversary Summit preparations, it seemed clear that there is no one way to spread the word on insurance, be it door-to-door, through third party or the internet. But what is most heartening is the faith that insurers have in their business if only they can get a foot in the door. The US$1.2 billion fee to be paid to DBS to get that 15-year exclusive deal in four markets at least underscores the great hope Manulife has in the business. It is a major inspiration for all. Well done Manulife in spreading this zealous message of faith in the business. Banks will also wake up to revisit their second cousins with fresher eyes and be more ready to work with insurers. I am a great believer in the power of bancassurance, having run some 12 Asian bancassurance conferences in the region and seeing the business grow to cover as much as 60% of the new business in some markets. In Turkey, it is 90%. Read our cover story on the Big Banc Theory, and the sheer force of insurers banking on banks to grow their business.
Motor is another area where the sun can shine bright for insurers if they get the “price” act right. It is assured business with promised growth as more people are owning cars in the region. But there is still no real appreciation of the burning costs of insuring cars and/or drivers. The no-claims bonus needs to be revisited as it prevents full enjoyment of the product bought.
And then there is the whole new world of driverless cars. Will motor insurance become irrelevant? Read our special feature on motor insurance as a curtain raiser for our Asian Motor Conference in Jakarta in mid-May.
There is another shine this May as the big titans of the insurance industry from The Geneva Association descend on Singapore for the annual General Assembly. We bring you their take on getting policymakers to understand insurance and treat it as distinct from banks or fund managers. It’s time to get a Godfather for the insurance industry. Any takers? Check out the who’s who GA galore in Singapore. Limited to members only.
Our Country Profile is on Australia where the mature market grapples with the issue of affordability of the covers offered. Lessons from Australia will be an eye-opener for the world too. Marketing gurus in retail will say: “People buy, price notwithstanding, because they really need it.” Can that apply to insurance which has no touchy-feely appeal?
May’s bumper offerings include usage-based insurance; using claims management to improve reputation; cyber resilience; business continuity in the cloud era; credit crunches; investing in equity even in the solvency era; disruptions and innovations in health; boosting awareness of trade credit and political risks insurance; covers for suicide; and the role of agents in life. I recommend two must-reads: Advice from lawyers on “Coping with enhanced regulation” though some 90% of CEOs view over-regulation as a threat, and an incisive survey of brokers and their business outlook carried out by AIG using AIR’s database. Read and enrich your business.
Lastly in May, don’t forget to send us your nominations for the Asia Insurance Industry Awards to celebrate excellence. Every positive act heralded, be it yours or a third party’s, is your contribution to the industry’s march towards greater professionalism.
Keep the flag flying high. It is May after all.
Asia Insurance Review