With the arrival of September, summer is officially over. Despite the lingering memories of 9/11 and the several global crises of the past, we return with a greater derring-do to rev-up and be better this year. The human heart is always on a positive keel full of hope, no matter how furious the summer was.
This September, we return safe in the knowledge that insurance is doing well despite the global volatility, stock market swings and currency tiffs. Our Country Profile on China has the ringing endorsement that in this country, the insurance dragon is roaring into a golden age.
In the same vein, the latest Fortune Survey of the Global 500 for 2014 figures showed that seven insurance companies made it to the world’s top 100 with three being Asian -- Japan Post, China Life and Ping An. And of the top 50 companies in the world with the biggest increase in revenues, 10 were insurers, with Manulife leading the pack. The business of the top 500 only grew by 0.5% in 2014, whereas sigma figures show that insurance premiums grew by a healthy 3.7% in 2014. So yay for insurance!
All over the world, insurers are trying their best to make an impact with the theme song being “Innovation” and its refrain being “free the reigns and let us innov8”. Insurers are also going the extra mile to try to ensure that even beyond innovation, they need to make insurance “understood and loved” by all. People need to know and really understand what is it they buy in insurance? And what they get in return especially as Gen Y and beyond are all about “now” and instant gratification. Does insurance have a fighting chance? After all, insurance is about a promise to pay in the future and even then “only maybe”.
Hence, the actual enjoyment of insurance must be celebrated. Spread the moment. Make it viral with social media. It’s a powerful story to be shared. But do we dare? The EY Global Consumer Survey 2014 has a ringing reminder to “get it right with claims”. So truly, sustainable innovation must start with claims. The whole claims mentality and process must be innovated on and overwhelmed from within. But how?
September is about the Monte Carlo Rendezvous, an attempt to stretch the long glory days of summer further – the official start of the renewal season where we look at what customers want from reinsurers, though a good reinsurer worth his stripes will usually prime the customers on what to want. Our Cover Story shows that everyone says it is a buyers’ market, yet reinsurers do have a say in a buyers’ market. They must. Sign up for Asia’s Monte Carlo (SIRC 2015 in Singapore) to have your say. More than 700 delegates have already signed up and we aim to hit 1,000.
On the Pensions front, we look for a panacea in the face of the global ageing challenges, the rise of the HNW contingent, and a creeping awareness that people must do their own retirement planning. Yet pension reforms remain slow.
On China we boldly bring you a must read guide to foreigners succeeding in the insurance trail where many a valiant heart has failed.
For our Takaful Rendezvous in KL later this month, we bring you a special on using retakaful to offer micro-takaful to help the needy masses.
To gear up for the launch of the AEC still on schedule for this December, we look at the opportunities for insurers in AEC and also at setting minimum operating standards as the first step to integration in the life sector.
The 12th Australian Insurance Industry Awards Presentation in Sydney was a stunning success with the stress on innovation and staff and customer care to build insurance. Watch this space for the Asia Awards finalists.
Wishing you all the best for a hectic return to work.
Asia Insurance Review