With the Monte Carlo Rendezvous over, the renewal is in full swing, though the mood is still uncertain. Globally, the message is clear that the rates are as low as they can get, there is no reprieve from the investment markets, and reinsurers must seriously look at reducing their cost of operations. Brokers are on alert that something must give as margins for reinsurers have become too thin.
Will this apply in Asia, still the darling of the global reinsurers in search of growth and spread?
The EAIC in Macau, which has drawn close to a 1,000 delegates, is a good time to test the mood of the market. Will direct insurers, who gather in big numbers in Macau, be sympathetic to reinsurers’ woes? Will the Asian reinsurers, as opposed to global players, make a special case for their home clients? Such are the intricacies in the world where globalisation, nationalism and regionalism co-exist. And then there is the whole augmented reality of reinsurers themselves going to the primary markets directly. Interesting days ahead.
Challenges always inspire new initiatives and new approaches as even in the era of Gen Y, a faint heart never won a fair lady.
The EAIC in Macau is set to be special, not just because of the exciting gadget of all papers being in a state-of-the art Samsung tablet to all delegates, but because the theme goes to the core of the very business everyone is in: Customer-centricity. I could not resist the cover picture for this October issue to spell out the message that if you can make the customer the centre of your business, you will get to the very top.
It is easier said than done as many still grapple with KYC – knowing your customer – in real terms, blinkers and blockers removed. Some do have a real sense of the customer, others can only guess, overwhelmed by data, propaganda and hype. Set yourself the simple exercise of revisiting the challenge of knowing who your customer is, who you think it is and who you really drool to want as customers. It will be a journey you will not regret.
Our Country Profile this month is on Indonesia which is still a star attraction in the region with double-digit growth still a do-able deal. We also have a Spotlight on Macau which is also going through dynamic changes as a SAR.
Turning to the highlights of this hectic but special month of October, aside from EAIC, we have the 20th Asia Insurance Industry Awards, a Rendezvous in Australia (Melbourne) and another in Indonesia (Bali), plus our very own high-profile Asia Marine Insurance Conference in Hong Kong. In Singapore, the GIA marks its 50th anniversary, while Hong Kong hosts its own Hong Kong insurance industry Awards too. And let’s not forget 18 October – EAIC Insurance Day – which is the culmination of the activities of the 12 member cities to boost the image of insurance in their respective markets.
In the era of data inundation and need for analytics, there is a must-read book that makes sense of data for insurers with the title: “Analytics for Insurance: the real business of big data” written by an insurance and technology insider. Buy the book now.
I take this opportunity to congratulate all finalists for the Asia Insurance Industry Awards and fondly remember the 300-odd winners of the Awards through the 20 years. Though most have stood the test of time handsomely, some have vanished with the M&A craze or because they stood “too still”. The Awards over the 20 years has become a highly coveted treasure in the industry. It cannot be bought. It can only be earned!
Asia Insurance Review