Commentary

Hong Kong insurers step up to seize opportunities in Greater Bay Area

Despite the challenges arising from the ongoing global pandemic, Hong Kong, with its expertise and massive capital flows in the insurance market, will always be the Asian hub for multinational insurers

Hong Kong insurers step up to seize opportunities in Greater Bay Area

Despite the challenges arising from the ongoing global pandemic, Hong Kong, with its expertise and massive capital flows in the insurance market, will always be the Asian hub for multinational insurers

Moving towards a “higher bottom line” in the insurance sector in Southeast Asia

Insurers in Southeast Asia are bullish about their growth prospects for 2022, despite lingering concerns about the potential impact of COVID-19 variants on overall business recovery and return-to-workplace strategies. But beyond ongoing efforts to adapt to the pandemic’s aftermath, insurance leaders are also confronted with multiple fundamental hurdles that could potentially derail their progress. 

Microinsurance: More than meets the eye for insurers

The impact of COVID-19 has exemplified the need to insure against individual and business risks of various kinds. At the same time, changing consumer behaviour is leading to varied demands of risk protection that are not limited to life, accident or health coverage. 

Understanding demand for specialty lines in Asia: the road ahead

The Asian insurance industry has shown strong resilience, despite the economic crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic since the start of 2020. According to a recent Bank of Singapore article, China‘s GDP is expected to grow by 8.7% in 2021 whilst key Asian countries such as Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan are expected to grow by an average 5%.

Insurance and the Growing Demand for Hyper Personalisation

Kenneth Koh is the Global Principal and Director of Insurance, Financial Services Practice, SAS Institute.

Industrializing data and analytics among Asian insurers

In recent years, Asian insurers have increasingly turned to data and analytics tools to drive growth and improve operational efficiency. Many have invested in starting up analytics teams or setting up insurtech partnerships to launch pilots. To date, some of the most popular use cases revolve around increasing new business by suggesting the next product to buy, improving claim-fraud detection, and increasing the straight-through processing rate of new life insurance policies.

Insurers must embrace digital to thrive post COVID-19

When cities and countries across the world finally come out of lockdown, the society that emerges will be fundamentally different. Post COVID-19, people will continue to increase interacting with friends, family, businesses and governments via digital channels. For insurers, this new approach poses a significant transformation challenge and opportunity. Challenge because the industry is encumbered with numerous legacy systems that are hard to update and a distribution model that still relies mainly on face-to-face interactions and a product push model. Opportunity because this a time when customers seek advice and solutions from their insurers and are open to engage in new ways; also because some of the resistance to new ways of working and engaging has just been taken out by the new normal in a (post) COVID-19 world.

Partnering to build the next digital bank in Malaysia

A banking revolution is sweeping across Asia as increasing numbers of countries introduce new regulatory frameworks for digital banking. Malaysia is next: Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the central bank, is currently seeking industry comments on a proposed framework for digital-bank licence applications.

Bancassurance in Asia

Delivering a step-change in value.

Digital insurance revolution

How long did it take to sell 240,000 insurance policies online in 2017? Most insurance leaders across Asia guess “at least a few weeks.” The reality is that, in the age of digital, it only took a second. The record was set on Alibaba Tmall.com website on 11 November 2017 by Zhong An, Chinese digital-first insurer and the most successful global insurtech so far. The pace of Zhong An growth has given the much-needed wake-up call for the insurance industry.

How robotics and cognitive automation will transform the insurance industry

The use of robots to drive tangible business benefits is very much a reality today. According to Transparency Market Research, the global IT-enabled robotic process automation (RPA) market is expected to reach $5 billion by 2020. RPA is just the beginning; cognitive capabilities that enable machines to perform tasks reserved for human intelligence are now being leveraged with robotics. Robotics and cognitive automation (R&CA) is expected to foster greater collaboration between humans and machine by both automating repetitive tasks and enhancing the quality of jobs.

Breathing life into life insurance

Life insurance companies are under pressure. Their traditional business model is stagnating. Since 2014, premiums for U.S. life insurers have fallen at an average annual rate of 4%, the industry’s return on equity has been flat, and persistently low interest rates continue to depress returns.

Global CEO survey: What we're seeing in the insurance sector

One of the key findings of PwC’s 21st Global CEO Survey is that whilst insurance continues to be one of the most disrupted sectors in the global economy and insurance CEOs are extremely concerned about the pace of technology change and cyber threats, surprisingly, they are also optimistic about their organisation’s revenue growth in the next three years.

Product liability coverage for SME exporters and manufacturers

A major US automaker was involved in three of the biggest product liability payouts of all time, the latest having been in February 2014, based on faulty ignition switches that could shut off vehicle engines during driving, disable power steering and brakes, and prevent airbags from inflating. Other large claims have been made against cigarette manufacturers for causing cancer; and medical equipment makers for leaky silicone breast implants. Whilst most of the largest product liability episodes involve public companies, and are filed in the US, claims can happen almost anywhere. In October 2017, a private US medical supply and healthcare company was hit with a product liability problem involving its disposable contact lenses shipped to Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong, necessitating the recall of more than 31,000 boxes.

Challenges for the insurance sector

Asia is vast geographically, comprises more than 15 major jurisdictions and possesses extreme diversity in terms of the ethnicity of its population, its cultures and the varying stages of economic, social and technological development in each country, making it one of the most varied markets globally. Therefore, there are many different risks and challenges posed by the increased opportunities created by innovative and technological advances, not least in the insurance industry. A prime example of such growth is the emergence of insurtech in the Asian market.

How Asia's insurers can profit from the disruption wave

Asian insurers are riding several positive trends, like the region’s growing middle class and their increasing demand for insurance. Over the past five years, Asian consumers contributed more than half of the global growth in life insurance premiums. Capital markets have certainly noticed: Insurance players with a significant Asian presence have an average price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio close to 20—compared to a P/E of 10 to 15 for those that don’t, according to Bloomberg. But insurance companies also face challenges. Government bond rates have fallen from more than 10% in the 1980s to 2% or less in many Asian countries, shrinking investment returns.

Disrupt or be disrupted

The diverse insurance market in Asia-Pacific sees plenty of growth opportunities and challenges pertaining to distribution and regulation. Insurers are increasingly aware of the importance of customer centricity, product and service innovation, as well as alternative business models to drive growth.