Two topics discussed at the recent 25th East Asian Insurance Congress are of relevance to us and our audience. The congress was attended by more than 1,300 delegates from 40 countries across the world and they got together to discuss the issues within the insurance and reinsurance industry that impact Asia and the people who live there.
The events participants discussed disaster insurance and the need for disaster insurance schemes to be set up to help cover increasing levels of damage from natural disasters in Asia. It was highlighted that losses are increasing rapidly due to the increasing development of Asian countries, frequency and severity of disasters is also on the rise. It was stressed that insurance plays a key role in helping countries recover quickly from disaster and parametric insurance products were cited as of particular value to developing nations.
The Indonesian Finance Minister, Agus Martowardojo, called on Asian countries to develop microinsurance products to help empower the poor with insurance services. He said that most insurance companies in Asia are targeting the middle classes and the low-income market remains mostly untapped. He cited examples of microinsurance working in some countries and gave takaful and retakaful as another example of insurance products which will help Asian populations.
There is a huge market for those willing to take microinsurance to Asian countries. Insurance penetration is very low due to the level most insurance products are currently pitched at and the opportunity to harness that market is at its greatest right now.