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Editor's Message

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Feb 2017

The Rooster is upon us, and we are emboldened to make this year a crowing success despite the changes all around. The secret recipe is: never to be afraid of change; be philosophically simple; lead with hope and positivity and not by stoking fear and insecurity; and know your unique strengths in the current market and play up to it.
 
   In today’s era of disruptive innovation, it is really all about knowing the future needs of the customer and not about meeting his current needs. The winner is one who can create order amidst the chaos of varying wants and changes in the world by predicting analytically and designing products which clients need tomorrow. 
 
   This is the theme of our 17th Asia CEO Insurance Summit and our cover story for this month where we look at how CEOs are navigating through these complex and uncertain yet exciting times. But the biggest challenge is getting the public excited about insurance. 
 
   In that same vein, last month, AIR organised its first-ever “industry meets the press” session with high-level CEOs and top journalists in the Indian market. A clear message that emerged was that insurers suffered a bigger trust deficit with the public than banks, and had to work at bridging this gap. 
 
   Getting CEOs and the press to the table to converse was heralded as a first positive step that augurs well for the future of insurance. But action is needed as the press the world over need to be incentivised to tell the insurance story correctly to the public. Insurance, compared to banking or unit trusts, seems to be just too small to naturally attract news.
 
   As for reinsurance, the January renewals saw a soft market. What portends for 1st April? The world of reinsurance despite increasing competition from capital market is being buffeted by varying degrees of restrictions in the guise of regulations including Solvency II & RBC. There seems to be a greater need for reinsurers to work together for mutual benefits and to educate the cedants and regulators on the unique value that reinsurers bring to the market place beyond just surrogate capital. 
 
   And in India, the key focus at the 10th India Rendezvous, with the theme of “Finding the ideal reinsurance partner”, was the order of preference for reinsurance issued by IRDAI. With the renewals set for 1 April and some 650 delegates from 40 countries assembled in Mumbai for the Rendezvous, there was a great buzz about the way forward, especially with some 360 cross-border reinsurers currently serving the market. 
 
   Our Country Profile this month is on Japan, the largest market in Asia which excites reinsurers as the country, which ranks Nat CATs and non-physical damages as top risks, has an advanced appreciation for insurance and the basic principle that reinsurers must be able to earn a return for their capital so that they will always be there to pay claims. We bring you a close-up on the way Japanese insurers are cresting the wave of change in a volatile global economy. It is the year of the bird and Japanese insurers take flight.
 
   Lastly, February is also the month we launch our Asia Trusted Life Agents and Advisers Awards to show that – despite all the disruption and technology – the agents, the unsung heroes of the industry, have an important role to play in society and to the boost image of insurance even in social media. The 1st Awards, truly regional and a world’s first, saw nine winners from several companies and six markets emerging. Will the true agents and advisers please stand up? The closing date for third-party nominations is 21 March 2017, so nominate your best agent now.
 
   I take this opportunity to wish a great Year of the Rooster to all. Make it count.
 
Sivam Subramaniam
Editor-in-Chief 
Asia Insurance Review
 
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