Challenges and Opportunities of the Global Insurance Industry

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Introduction
The global insurance industry seems to have escaped the worst of the financial crisis in comparison to other financial institutions. Day to day business has been relatively unaffected but the area that gave the most cause for concern has arisen from exposures to risky financial instruments. “The Reactions Magazine’s Global Insurance Conference 2009” was held in Swissotel, Zurich, Switzerland. At this conference the financial services industry tried to re set itself following the worst crisis for years. (www.euromoneyseminars.com). Insurance is an established industry. Like other companies insurance is facing increased competition from global players. It has been difficult for insurers to accomplish profitable growth, so they need to improve this. They will need to adopt new advanced approaches to expand their distribution networks. This essay is divided into two sections. The first talks about the types of risks that are present in the global insurance industry. I will take each of these points and discuss them in detail: growth, governance and risk management, market reporting, mergers and acquisitions, human capital and lastly compliance and regulation. The second section looks at the opportunities that are available to the global insurance industry within the next twelve to twenty - four months. They include: disaster modelling, disaster planning, managing the industry’s reputation, grow globally, innovative products and delivery and Focus on readdressing product and distribution strategies. The insurance industry is always looking for new opportunities in different services and geographies. To take advantage of these opportunities insurance companies need to re-examine their strategies and be prepared to drive basic changes in the way they work.“ The primary function of insurance is to act as a risk transfer mechanism. The basic principle of insurance is that the losses of the few are paid by the many. Its underlying purpose is to provide protection against the risk of financial loss, thus giving peace of mind to the policyholders.” (www.peerpapers.com) Challenges are getting bigger for insurers as an increase in pressure for bigger profit margins. This means taking a hard look at reducing costs and top line revenue growth. Making a profit is due to the ability to accurately assess risk and look after customer relationships over time in order to get financial success. I am going to look at the following six challenges. 1.1 Growth

After a spell of cost cutting and readjustment, insurers are again moving up a gear and trying to strive for managed growth. While growth is valued by investors, it is hard to find in the fairly mature insurance industry. To be successful in the future companies will need to create and design new products and services, cross - sell more effectively, strengthen their ties with brokers and agents and avail of any opportunities presented by emerging markets such as China and India.(www.pwc.com). Further demand for pensions and health insurance is likely to rise in the Western world as the population ages and lives to enjoy a longer retirement. Costs will remain critical however to meet the ever exacting demands of today’s customers is liable to be the main point of contention. There are new openings from the increasing wealth of customers in new markets e.g. China. As their insurance industry is one of the fastest growing in the world with GDP at 3.2% and the end of December 2008, they stand far behind the global average of insurance industry which stands at 7%.(www.lloyds.com) Saturation of insurance markets in the developed world has made the Indian market more attractive for international insurers according to “Booming Insurance Market in India (2008-2011)”. This is due to its huge population base and large untapped market. (www.newsblaze.com) 1.2 Governance and Risk Management

Natural calamities are another challenge facing the industry. Global warming has...
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