“Deep in November it is good to remember”, so the line goes.
But for many in the North, November is so depressing with cold wet days and shorter daylight. And this year, with the non-stop hurricane and typhoon landfall and flooding, the mood is even more depressed. 2017 is looking to be a very tough year for all.
For those on or near the equator, November is a time for deep reflection as the frequent torrential rains keep one indoors, hopefully “cosy and toasty” despite the anxieties of a challenging business environment.
This November is jam-packed with so many industry events all over Asia, from SIRC, IAIS, PIC, AIC and our own Marine Conference and Investment Management Summit to make sure you start 2018 with a sure strategy on “Sure to Prosper”.
Our cover story is on reinsurance with the 14th SIRC, where Singapore takes centre stage as a reinsurance hub. The business environment is getting overwhelmingly tough and reinsurers, with reducing margins, see cost-cutting and slimming their operations as a key to survival. Price competition is a given. So reinsurers are told to be strategic about pricing. And in the world emphasising partnerships as opposed to transactions to just get through the year, the search for creative solutions for mutual rewards is real but endless.
Ironically, with regulators getting more switched on with the risk quotient of the insurance business, compliance has become another huge cost factor for insurers. And this of course, is the non-negotiable or non-reducible cost of doing business.
That leads me to the second key event this month, the annual conference of the IAIS in KL with a glitterati cast of all the high-profile regulators in tow. It is great from an industry perspective to see a whole big topic on financial education for insurance consumers. This must surely lead to a positive role that governments and insurance supervisors and regulators can play in developing insurance and raising awareness of the public on the benefits and importance of insurance. The KL event will also look at capital standards, the future of global supervision and draw lessons from each other’s experiences. It will be good if regulators from smaller markets can impress the bigger ones on the reality takes and bites on the ground. We want to see regulators on an even keel forward, rather than get one segment running at breakneck speed playing catch-up without enjoying the joy of insurance. To steal a couple of phrases from the highly thought out agenda of the KL meeting, “High Touch” works as much as high-tech and deeper too.
The PIC and AIC dates clash this year with life meeting in Hong Kong and ASEAN meeting in Vientiane, Laos. We bring you a crop of features on insurance as ASEAN turns 50 this year and AEC takes root. And on life, we see the bright lights beyond the black clouds as reinsurers help the industry get futuristic to help people live longer and healthily instead of dying young.
In all that November depth, one cannot forget our Country Profile on China, where the dragon seems to “soar” they say with several “firsts” and “largest”.
November is also the time to recognise and salute excellence in the industry for without them the torch cannot be passed and the light held higher. Congratulations to the Winners of 21st Asia Awards. We count on you to raise the bar.
Deep in November, remember to do good and to do the best you can on the business front. Strike a good work-life balance if your peers and clients demand more of you.
Asia Insurance Review