New Prudential Asia CEO seeks to close region’s protection gap

Executive sees a “strong demand” for savings and protection products

New Prudential Asia CEO seeks to close region’s protection gap

Insurance News

By Paolo Taruc

Prudential Asia’s new CEO Nic Nicandrou believes the Asian market has much room to grow, as a “large protection gap” exists alongside “significant infrastructure needs.”

The continent’s middle class population is expected to reach 1.9 billion by 2020, according to figures from the International Monetary Fund. Nicandrou said Asia’s “increasingly affluent” population has a “strong and growing” demand for savings and protection products. He believes Prudential is well-positioned to take advantage of this opportunity, as it has insurance and asset management operations across 14 markets in the region.

Nicandrou assumed his new role on Monday last week. He transferred from the firm’s parent company Prudential plc, where he served as CFO from 2009. Nicandrou was responsible for Group strategy and has served as executive director responsible for Prudential’s African insurance operations since 2015. Before joining Prudential, he worked at Aviva, where he held a number of senior roles.

The mortality protection gap in Asia-Pacific is projected to widen to US$82trn in three years, according to estimates by AIA. In terms of some specific markets, AIA projected the figure will grow
to US$763bn in Hong Kong, US$570bn in Singapore, US$46trn in China, US$12trn in India, US$1.1trn in Indonesia, US$528bn in the Philippines, and US$1trn in Thailand.

Separate research by global disaster modelling firm Air Worldwide found that, of losses related to natural disasters over 2015, US$8.3bn was insured across the continent with a whopping US$89.47bn left uninsured.

“The sizable difference between insured and economic losses - the protection gap - represents the cost of catastrophes to society, much of which is ultimately borne by governments,” the report said. “Increasing insurance penetration can ease much of the burden, while providing profitable growth opportunities for the insurance industry.”

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