Wealth management and personal insurance as well as products and services to help customers meet their complex financial planning needs are growth opportunities that exist for insurers in 2013, according to Ernst & Young’s (E&Y) Asia-Pacific Insurance Outlook 2013.
Balancing risk against prudential regulation coupled with increased focus on improving consumer protection and increasing product transparency will be a prime consideration for insurers in 2013, E&Y’s Asia-Pacific insurance leader Paul Clark said in the report.
“Growing wealth from the burgeoning middle class represents a major source of premium and profit potential,” said Clark.
Assurance partner and insurance and takaful leader for E&Y Malaysia Brandon Bruce Sta Maria believes that Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) that’s forecasted to grow 5% this year made the country stand out as an Asia-Pacific country that would continue to experience rapid development of its financial markets and service sectors.
Sta Maria said Malaysian insurers will continue their focus in optimising their operations and infrastructure where these companies would be leveraging on demographic shifts and technological innovations.
“Insurers will need to be more selective in which markets to enter or exit, which distribution channels to utilise and how best to manage costs while maintaining productivity.
"They need to ensure their goals and strategies are aligned with target acquisitions and that they have invested in the operational support systems to make the ventures succeed,” the report noted.
“Adapting their products and business models to reach out to new growth markets and to regulatory changes inclined towards consumer protection will enable insurers to strengthen their market position and pursue top-line opportunities,” said Sta Maria.
The report cited E&Y’s global consumer survey which found that more consumers are researching products and carriers online prior to their purchasing decisions.
As mobile technology gains a foothold across the region, insurers need to identify solutions to retain market share and gain competitive advantage.