The past two years have seen steady growth in the Asian insurance sector, spurred by a combination of climbing incomes, demographic factors and strong potential in emerging markets, especially India and China. Indeed, European and US insurers are looking at Asia with fresh enthusiasm since China announced plans to allow more access to its insurance markets. Overall, the non-life insurance sector has been livelier than its life insurance counterpart. Health insurance in particular has been robust, but other newer forms of insurance, such as cyber insurance, also have been carving out a market for themselves.
But the winds that buffeted insurers earlier, may continue to trouble them today and in the months to come. A global economic slowdown is a major worry, as is the likely fallout from an ongoing US-China trade dispute that could be sobering for the region. Regulatory oversight has checked some of the worst excesses of the insurance business, and steered the industry onto a more stable path. But has this supervision been too broadly applied to be truly effective, or has it been too strict, thereby stifling entrepreneurship and innovation?
How can insurers chart the best course? Cost management is one way; it involves driving operational efficiencies and altering distribution channels. Digitalisation is another powerful tool; it enables insurers to adapt to changing customer behaviour, cut operational costs and improve productivity. Disruptive innovation is energising traditional business models, products and services, and modernising the business and management of insurance in Asia.
FT Asia Insurance Summit:Charting a course for growth will take a clear-eyed look at the best way forward for an evolving insurance industry. Now in its sixth year, the summit will gather together leading insurers, regulators, asset managers and technology experts from Asia to evaluate whether the region’s insurers and investors are ready for the opportunity and the challenge ahead.