Jan 2021

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Editor's Message

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Sep 2020

In September we usually start on a high. But 2020 is doing badly on this score and the common chorus seems to be: When will this despair end? We know not. 
We know that we just have to push the boats against all the currents in the hope of the tailwind leading us to that green light – what Fitzgerald, in the roaring ‘20s of yore, called the ‘orgiastic future’.
Firstly, the COVID-19 scores are abysmal, with recurring waves everywhere. We are now looking at 23m infected and a death toll of 800,000. Worldwide, economies are at a standstill or in recession or even in depression.
Though not on the frontline, insurance is still hard hit, although many are putting on a brave front and paying out claims gallantly. The prolonged pandemic has raised basic fears of survival and sustainability. The crux is still what is covered, what is actually excluded and how much of claims management is still a matter of goodwill and regulatory calls beyond actual contract certainty. 
However, the market is hardening, they say. Some are asking themselves if their clients can afford the hike. That’s how engaged the industry is with the customers, for better or for worse.
In September, it is always about the Monte Carlo Rendezvous kick-starting the renewal season where networking and face-to-face meetings were the prime call. Working from home has taken away the shared wisdom of on-the-job training and learning from colleagues around the table or at the water cooler. Everything is on hold and till when? 
September would also have been the time of the 30th East Asian Insurance Congress, the top biennial regional insurance event. But it’s now moved to 2022. The 17th SIRC, the most awaited Asian reinsurance event globally, has now been postponed to October 2021. And this despite the best efforts made by the SIRC management committee to explore various means and avenues to go ahead as planned in November. 
So to move forward, aside from keeping the spirits up, there is a dire need to find that tech niche to jazz up the business digitally with the best cyber protection too. We don’t have a choice. The business needs to evolve that way for the time being just to survive.
Hence our September edition, aside from looking at the state of the industry today, is spiced with a burst of stories on InsurTech, digital underwriting and the tech tools to compete in a pandemic and even looking at the promise of 5G for insurers.
Our country profile this month is on Japan where both the life and general sector are actively preparing for life after COVID-19, the impact of the Olympics delay and how to get innovative in a risk-averse market. We bring you an exclusive FSA interview on economic-value based solvency regulation.
Asia Insurance Review (AIR) has now become part of the global publishing group, Beacon International, which also owns Business Insurance. This will enable us to enjoy unparalleled tech and distribution networks and support to serve the insurance world globally. Our commitment to be the voice of insurance in Asia will always remain. We salute Singapore Re, which nurtured the vision to launch AIR as the regional insurance magazine 30 years, and also Mr Hwang Soo Jin, life president of AIR. 
Holding fast to excellence, we are on track with the 24th Asia Insurance Industry Awards, which looks like being an online show through social media. The list of finalists will meet the panel of some 35 judges on 10 September. The darker the night, the greater is the need for stars.
The stars will always shine. Make sure you are a star always.
Sivam Subramaniam
Asia Insurance Review
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