It is March, and we are now firmly settled into what seems set to be an unpredictable year with the market sentiments in yo-yo. Yet businesses are moving ahead despite the hard-knocks and what-nots with keen conviction that “there’s got to be a dawn” somewhere. No point moaning – business has to move with the times, the threats and the travails. The best strategy is to keep your balance, hold your head high for that glimmer of dawn to catch tomorrow with gumption.
Spring always brings hope despite the rains. And hope springs eternal in insurance where I can see that our business leaders are not giving up despite the litany of bad news, disasters and market sentiments. And even more emphatic is the drive of the distribution brigade that brings new business to the market. Our Cover Story, in tandem with our Brokers Summit in Bali this month, is on brokers, and the way they are cleverly using technology to keep up and grow their business, while avoiding the portends of “disintermediation”. Some even say that brokers are taking the bull by the horns in the disruption
Likewise, in the agents space, we launch an ambitious first-time-ever “Asia Life Agents and Advisers Awards” with Manulife as Lead Sponsor to recognise and salute the excellence and critical role of agents across the life industry in Asia. Despite the myriad distribution matrix evolving, agents still bring that all-important personal touch that the life clients seem to need and want, even as digital natives come of age. As said in the MDRT Hong Kong last month, the agent/adviser is irreplaceable in life. This Awards is a direct response to AIR’s 25th Anniversary Summit where keynoter Mark Tucker, global CEO of AIA, hailed agents as the unsung heroes of the industry. He now serves as Patron of this Awards Series.
We also launch a new digital weekly this month to reach out to agents across Asia to keep the dialogue alive.
Our Country Profile is on Japan, a market in balance on the surface, yet teeming with interesting paradoxes – so mature and yet under-insured in several areas, even against Nat CAT risks. But Japan, the stalwart of Asia’s insurance market remains outgoing and leading the M&A space, while internally it is still self-corrective with the stress on innovation and resilience.
At the same time, we bring you a quick spotlight on South Korea’s new regulations to boost insurers’ capital and risk management.
With March being a month of many events, we bring you curtain raisers too: the Asia Pacific Maritime Conference with a focus on the new class of cargo losses – shipped cars; the Asia Motor Conference in Bangkok with a piece on the risk and power of driverless cars and their impact on insurance; and the Asia Health Conference with strategic tips on reforming critical illness covers in the digital era. This is a big month for us in serving the needs of the mainstream market as motor and health account for more than half of the business in several markets in Asia. We aim to serve.
One of our must-reads this month is the exclusive interview with Mrs Alice Vaidyan, the new Chairman-cum-Managing Director of GIC Re on her vision to steer the reinsurer to new heights in the face of competition and the challenges facing the market in India and the world over.
With spring, do try new initiatives to manage your business, including taking heed that managing human capital and its costs might be the differentiator between winners and losers. It is all about working smart and using Big Data & technology strategically.
Oh, to be smart!
You will have to wait till April to get insights on our CEO Summit and know who will be the next Uber to shake up insurance! Someone is already out there making waves.