Half of whimsical 2015 is over with promises of greater dithering and reverses and disruption. In this exciting mid-year, we bring you the cryptic message to stay “stay focused” as it is so easy to get distracted when things are going so good or so bad. But staying focused in an interconnected world is like putting a hungry kid in a candy store and saying: “Don’t touch the sweets”. So what gives in the race to win by staying focused?
Our entries for the 2015 Asia Awards showed that many are riding the bandwagon of innovation, and trying to be different in a world where disruption is the mantra, and yet insurers are not seen as doing enough. KPMG’s report released at the Global Insurance Forum said about 47% of the 280 insurers worldwide interviewed admitted to not having a formal innovation strategy. Insurers are being forced to innovate, be it at the product, process or distribution level, but also to stay focused by getting back to the the core of what insurers do best. The rest are on the highway of history littered with wannabes who never quite got their act together.
July brings lots of hype of the stress faced in business: cyber hacking news is just unending, though not many in Asia are buying protection. Then there is the MERS scare, whose pandemic effect is being downplayed as “not as bad as SARS” which had gripped the world with panic fears for a good four months with business travel and meetings grinding to an almost standstill. Yet how resiliently the world has recovered with minimal setbacks.
Our Country Profile is on Korea. MERS and a prolonged recession notwithstanding, “Korea still has it” to face the challenges with optimism. When the going gets tough, the tough just get going. This month, we bring you a series of market focus, including reinsurers rushing into India, Indonesians coming to terms with the rate impact on the new rules requiring domestic reinsurance capacity to be fully used, and on Nepal where the regulator is forcing claims to be settled pronto.
Our Cover Story is on CATs where we look back over the past 10 years where Asia has been relentlessly hit by a rising number of natural disasters with increasing severity and explore the burning question: Has Asia learnt from its experiences? Is there hope yet for the industry? And more importantly, where the blind spots are in CATs and winning customers with claims handling being the proof of the pudding.
In this summer break, we bring you lots of reading material, including the pleasure focus on HNW spelling $ for life insurers though the low interest rates are depressing life earnings, big giants in Asia expanding around like China Life opening in Singapore, LIC opening in Bangladesh, two Japanese insurers getting permits for Myanmar and AXA targeting its 100th million customer in another 15 years’ time, and motor insurance getting all cosy with tech. The menu stretches beyond to reputation risks being the mother of all risks, and the accessibility of big data and technology being at inflexion point for the insurance industry. The one big black spot on your summer read is the pandemics. They are here to hound you unless a quick way is found to manage these risks.
We focus on disrupting employee benefits as a curtain raiser to our first-ever Asia Conference Employee Benefits with the theme, “Using Insurance as a Partner to innovate Employee Benefits Schemes while Controlling Costs”.
In this month of July we salute two friends: ReMark which marks its 30th Anniversary in helping insurers make insurance more easily accessible to the man in the street, and Mr AK Roy who turns 60 and statutorily retires as Chairman of GIC. He has been a great friend of the industry.
It is July and Ramadan too. I take this opportunity to wish everyone the joy of seeking the right answers to their problems! There are a million solutions out there. You just need to find the one that suits you best.