At the Global Insurance Forum, organized by the International Insurance Society (IIS) in Singapore, several participants shared their opinions on how regulators in several countries deal with new technological developments in finance, and how some even actively participate in reshaping the landscape.
In a video interview by ratings agency AM Best, Steve Tunstall, general secretary of the Pan Asia Risk and Insurance Management Association, said that there is a huge opportunity for financial technology in Asia. Technology-based insurance is seen to have accelerated growth in Asia, and can expand globally once economy of scale is achieved.
With regard to the role of regulators, Anna Tipping, partner at law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, noted that regulation rarely keeps pace with change, and presently there’s unprecedented change in the financial and insurance markets in the face of financial technology. Regulators globally are now recognizing the need to innovate as companies evolve new ways to do business.
Meanwhile, Mary Trussell of KPMG said that insurers should learn to be much more nimble and agile. Technology can enable this agility and keep ahead of regulation, which should not be seen as a threat to the business model, but to use it as a catalyst for change.
According to Jose Ribeiro, managing director for Asia-Pacific of AM Best, Regulation plays an important role in Asia due to different approaches for different territories. In China, the regulator is in fact leading market development, such as setting targets, namely double the insurance industry in terms of premium volume within the next five years.
Karsten Wantia of Willis Towers Watson said that regulatory bodies in Asian countries not only focus on market development but are also part of the political system. Examples are the insurance industry protectionism in Indonesia and Vietnam. This acts as a barrier to entering the market and for reinsurers to diversify their risk portfolio.
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