Swiss Re sets out strategy for opportunities
Global reinsurance firm Swiss Re says its new strategic framework will allow it to seize current and future opportunities and challenges in the re/insurance industry. At an investors day this week the firm said that at the heart of the framework is the systematic and fast allocation of capital to access new and existing risk pools and revenue streams. The company says that while low interest rates create challenges for investment revenues, low penetration rates in many parts of the world create opportunities. Among the other focuses for the insurer are growing and diversifying its client base; optimizing resources and platforms; and emphasizing differentiation.
Large insurers want control of their Indian business units
There has been a flurry of activity among foreign insurers increasing their stakes in the Indian insurance market but an industry group is warning that even the raised limit of foreign direct investment is too low to be attractive to new entrants. AIA Group is the latest to announce that it is increasing its holding in its joint venture with Tata Group to the 49 per cent maximum currently allowed. Others including Sun Life, Aegon and Nippon have also boosted stakes in their joint venture firms and the Indian Express reports that SBI Life and Standard Life are likely to follow suit in the coming weeks.
However, while existing participants in the market are keen to expand their holdings a report reveals that there are no new players. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India told the Indian Times that the increased limit on FDI has not been a factor in a single insurer entering the market. Experts suggest that a 49 per cent stake does not offer the incentive needed to attract new entrants. The market requires millions of dollars of new investment to grow the penetration level from the current 3.2 per cent for life insurance and 0.7 per cent for general insurance.
Britain battered by unprecedented storms, flooding
Europe has been a focus for climate change recently with world leaders at the Paris conference and this week Britain has provided a stark reminder of the dangers from weather-related incidents. The north-western counties of Cumbria and Lancashire have been hit by strong winds and unprecedented rainfall which has left homes and businesses flooded and thousands without power. Scotland and Ireland have also been hard hit and at least three people are known to have died. It’s believed that 341mm of rain fell in just one day at the weekend which would be a new UK record. The Association of British Insurers says the industry is doing everything it can to help those affected.