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Jun 2020

Editor's Message

Source: Asia Insurance Review | May 2020

With the shutdown around the world and working from home arrangements, we bring you a bumper read this month. With COVID-19, no one knows ‘when this too shall pass’ although there are already some 90 vaccines being rushed at different labs with varying degrees of promise and speed.
 
COVID-19 has been a game-changer in so many unexpected ways underscoring the resilience of man and technology. More importantly, the humanity still left in all of us shines everywhere in these dark days. My personal favourite is the trophy-decorated 99-year-old retired British Army captain Tom Moore walking in his garden with a frame despite his broken hip 100 times to raise money for the NHS - and how the world crowdfunded his zest with some $10m within days. Such is the mettle of human heroism in these trying times that it bring tears of joy even as the death toll rises mercilessly.
 
The reality is harsh and hard as the global economy is taking a huge hit and jobs are lost as many companies just can’t survive the lockdown. They can’t wait out the doom and gloom. 
 
With all the uncertainties surrounding COVID-19 and the gaping absence of a truly global leader at the helm, at least the insurance industry has risen to show its heart. Some motor insurers have waived premiums for cars parked at home, while some carriers are forgiving the payment of premiums in other areas. Some are rushing to settle claims fast. Regulators were out in full force, too, with one even insisting claims to be paid within two hours, and another wanting all denied claims to be officially explained. And the list goes on.
 
COVID-19 is an opportunity for the insurance industry to show its very relevance to the community and walk the talk, contracts notwithstanding and undeterred by the double whammy of the stock market write-downs too. Now is the time for insurers to rebuild trust with the community. Can we reboot and start afresh? Can it be done even as many wonder if we can actually afford it? 
 
As for the team at Asia Insurance Review, we see how everyone is afraid as nothing is clear or definite. Most events have been cancelled or postponed and even as we work from home we know not when shall we meet again, be it in ‘thunder, lightning or in rain’. But with May, hope comes as the eye of heaven does shine bright.
 
Our second cover story, after COVID-19, is on the IFRS17 where the delayed implementation is a welcome reprieve to all. Our country profile is on Hong Kong, a market that still so resilient in the face of the prolonged crisis and is still innovating and goingthe full-hog with technology, InsurTech 2.0 and more digital players. With the grim reality, underwriting discipline is slowing shaping up. The spirit of Hong Kong is never wanting.
 
We also bring you a focus on bancassurance, the world of health insurers and how agents are coping in the lockdown. Technology is still the saviour, despite cyber hackers arising. The crisis has also dried up spare capital with many loth to make any new investments in any new play. 
One just has to wait out this tough time. But can one? 
 
On the positive, please do reflect on all the great and good you have scored and send in the nominations for the Asia Insurance Industry Awards 
(www.asiainsurancereview.com/asiaawards2020). We want to salute and remember all of you for the good you have done in the industry and for insurance. And with our online edition this month, even nominating will be a breeze.
 
Stay safe and hang in there with a good mask. Even this will pass.
 
And for our Muslim readers, I wish you the very best for Ramadan. 
 
Sivam Subramaniam
Editor-in-chief 
Asia Insurance Review
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