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Basic infrastructure needed to sustain growth projections - Worldwide Brokers Network

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Dec 2016

The future of the global economy lies in Asia, but there were some fundamental infrastructure requirements that were missing in some Asian markets, which would lead to an unsustainable growth projection, said Mr Richard Petty, Chairman of the Australia Chambers of Commerce Hong Kong & Macau, at the Worldwide Brokers Network General Meeting held in Singapore in October.
   He reminded attendees to not be swept up in the hype. “The numbers that the news gives us are nice headline numbers. It presents an impressive outlook on the Asian economy which isn’t really accurate.” 
   “Infrastructure is key,” said Mr Petty. “Without basic infrastructure, we can’t increase productivity and we can’t increase competitiveness.”
   He also pointed out that some governments had ambitions to be technological hubs or Smart Cities, yet still lacked basic amenities. “These goals are unrealistic,” he said.
Trending topics
Mr Stephen Grabek, Global Leader of Broker and Client Engagement at AIG, said that there existed today a broad set of trends that were reshaping industries.
   Technology trends such as social, mobile, Big Data, AI and robotics are impacting human behaviours and changing the way people live their lives in every way. “Within society, these effects are unfolding alongside major societal developments such as ageing populations with increased life expectancies, global power shifts and new trends in job mobility,” he said.
   He pointed out some key themes emerging from these changes, including:
  • Customer empathy & trust: Developing greater empathy for customers to better understand and accommodate their needs and build trust between customers and insurers. 
  • Protection gaps and unmet needs: Developing product offerings and delivery mechanisms that enable the provision of insurance against currently unmet needs (eg protection gaps in the levels of life insurance and longevity protection) and new risks (eg cyber threats).
  • Unlocking data assets: Using new and existing data sources and analytics to inform all elements of the business, such as customer segmentation and underwriting, and/or monetizing existing data assets through new services.
  • Beyond the balance sheet: Expanding the range of services provided from pure product to a “bundle” that addresses greater scope of customer needs, changes the customer’s loss experience.
  • Simplifications vs. specialisation: Selecting the appropriate business models for customer segments, whether simplified (competing on scale, efficiency, and costs) or specialised (competing on expertise and high-touch services).
  • Non-traditional players: Responding to non-traditional players, such as digital firms or those in adjacent industries, which can create a potential threat to the existing business model, opportunities for new partnerships, or both (co-opetition). 
  • Role of government: Monitoring and managing changes in the role of government in how insurance is provided, which can present both opportunities (eg public-private partnerships) and challenges (eg disruptive regulation).
Win-win situation
Mr Grabek also said: “The future will belong to ‘how can everybody win’ business models, and thinking. So – be open to new paradigms.”
   Ownership of data, he said, would eventually turn into access to data, with companies renting, leasing or selling data to interested parties. This, in turn, will quickly become a question of who can deliver the most powerful insights.
   An openness to new business models would be the biggest advantage in this competitive market, and early adopters would likely win the largest share of the pie.
   “Collaboration is key,” he concluded.
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