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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Asian insurance market ‘unsustainable’ amid rising large-scale risks

A rising number of large and complex risks have rendered the Asian commercial insurance market unsustainable, Willis Towers Watson (WLTW) has warned.

Continued downward pressure on insurance rates ©iStock
Continued downward pressure on insurance rates ©iStock

The firm said that disruptive technologies, geopolitical risks and demographic changes necessitate a new data and analytics-driven approach to risk mitigation and management.

This comes as a number of insurers withdraw from the region amid tighter scrutiny of underwriting practices, with many Asian countries now seeing hardening markets.

“A different risk management approach is needed,” WLTW head of Asia, Scott Burnett, said. “Companies need to know the strategy they have is exactly right for their business. 

“With new and emerging risks on the rise, they need to adopt a data-driven and actuarial approach to support all aspects of their procurement process to yield better outcomes.”

The WLTW research highlighted how a large number of natural catastrophes in Asia last year led to significant attrition losses and continued downward pressure on insurance rates.

These sustained losses, coupled with an increasingly complex global and economic backdrop, meant that most international insurers had to re-engineer their portfolios.

The researchers said there is now an “urgent” need for insurance buyers to go beyond traditional brokerage services, including assessment, transfer, placement, and claims.

This would involve risk engineering at all stages of the engagement, with data and analytics used to inform conversations with companies to help them look beyond current risks.

WLTW warned that cyber exposure has expanded beyond data breaches and must now be seen in the context of supply chain disruption, while liability exposure continues to grow.

“Too often, we hear clients struggle to quantify the financial impact and likelihood of risks to their business,” Burnett said.

“It is therefore important for companies to understand, prevent, protect and then respond with the right insurance and risk strategy for their businesses.” 

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