November has been a super hectic month for the industry. But the most recurrent refrain everywhere is the ‘WOW’ factor of success at the 16th SIRC where some 4,000 insurance executives congregated. Many big names bill it now as the number one reinsurance event in the world. The 16th SIRC was a megahit both in terms of numbers and in the quality of names it attracted – and the fantastic nature of discussions at the panel sessions. There was indeed a real tête-à-tête on the hot issues facing the industry, be it on sustainability, the environment and the basic business model.
As we look ahead, the reinsurers and brokers are busier this month with the year-end renewals and the issue of price and coverage being hotly contested in a market where natural disasters and cyber crimes are making the risk profile excruciatingly high and unpredictable. Yet the industry is plodding on diligently with data and analytics to get the best estimates or guesstimates in an overall uncertain climate.
November also saw the return of the China Rendezvous back-to-back with the inaugural Lujiazui International Reinsurance Conference where the aim was to nurture a reinsurance hub in Shanghai. It is indeed a brave new era for reinsurance in China whose sheer size dazzles the players with potential for the long term even if the present seems tough. Size drives the market which is still underinsured and where huge pockets of opportunities are popping up as government relaxes financial rules. There is greater interest by foreign firms which are pushing for more teeth in the game beyond just wishful optimism.
Our country profile is on Vietnam, where life is buoyant and the general sector is so competitive that digital is seen as giving the much-needed edge in reaching out to the middle class. There are spotlights on various emerging markets: Bangladesh where microinsurance is a big draw along with 31 companies being required to list by the end of year; forced listing in the stock market; Nepal which has yet a long way to go and where health is making a serious impact; and Sri Lanka where innovation really has a pull on business especially in the health area.
We feature our Asia Awards winners with their zest and will to do something different for the industry we all love.
Our cover story is a must read where many heavyweights share their frank insights and worries on the big issues that they predict for 2020 in insurance, reinsurance, broking, distribution, advisory, regulation and technology. It is a veritable wealth of unique insights for strategic minds to mull over during the Christmas break – to inform and direct action and strategy in the New Year. We bring you Christmas early this year to get ready for the perfect vision needed to ride the storms of 2020.
But everywhere the piped-in music is about being digital and investing in talent to grow digital business. One wonders, in the list of Christmas presents for the industry, if there is an App that is insurance-sensitive to drive the industry - or can insurance drive technology?
It is December though the state of the world and the ongoing fights and election fever do take away some of the joy of December. For me, it is always important to reminisce about the passing year and the years gone and look forward with the mantra: Be better next year. Even the bad will pass – because they must know it is Christmas soon.
Asia Insurance Review