Bimtech-FAIR International seminar on Capitalising on Emerging trends in Insurance in AFRO-ASIAN Region

Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH) along with Federation Of Afro –Asian Insurers & Reinsurers (FAIR) organised a seminar on the theme “ Capitalizing on the Emerging Trends in Insurance In Afro- Asian Region : In Quest of Profitable and Sustainable Growth “at Radisson Blue Hotel, Noida (NCR) on 23rd and 24th April, 2019.

Dr. Harivansh Chaturvedi, Director BIMTECH, in his welcome address highlighted the common issues in Risk Management affecting both Asia and Africa. Drawing similarity as both the continents were part of colonial yoke, the need of insurance protection is felt even more in these nations than the developed countries.

We are in the era which employs modern technologies like Machine Learning, Insuretech, Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things (IOT) to solve problems. The 17 SDGs have to be examined and accomplished by 2030. He signed off by saying that in this VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world, steeped with risks all around – the importance of insurance and risk management tools is even more compelling.

Ms. HebaFouad, the Assistant General Secretary –FAIR welcomed the delegates and the guests on behalf of FAIR, and went on to introduce FAIR. She informed the audience that in 1955, the legendary leaders of that era like Nehru, Chou En Lai, Sukarno and Nasser had the great vision of working formally together for the Afro Asian Cooperation. The first meeting took place in 1963 and FAIR was born in 1964 to promote cooperation among insurance and reinsurance companies in Africa and Asia, through the regular exchange of information, expertise and the development of business relations.

Mr. K K Mishra, a thought leader and former Chairman cum Managing Director of Tata AIG General Insurance Co. Ltd maintained that FAIR has been instrumental in the growth of Insurance in Asian region since 1964. He went on to explain the meaning of the term Growth- which meant profitability in terms of top line or bottom line – however, a single Catastrophe can affect the insurance industry in a manner which very few people really visualise. “The millennial would dictate the growth and profitability in days to come. Insurance impacts our lives significantly looking at the number of people touched by insurance” he quipped. He also thanked BIMTECH for timely organising the seminar.

Dr Shelina Afroza, Chairman –Jiban Bima Corporation , Bangladesh felt that the theme of the seminar is very relevant for the Afro Asian region. Bangladesh has graduated as a developing country. In the context of emerging trends, development could be reconciled with the scale of Insurance industry impacted by the overall growth and development of Bangladesh. In this context, if anything falls short of the potentials viz., how to bridge up the gap by regulatory and legal mechanism, appropriate policy must be explored and devised.

The first panel discussion of the day was “Making Life Insurance Protection Accessible to All”. This session was chaired by Dr. M. Mosharraf Hossain, Member Life – Insurance Development & Regulatory Authority(IDRA) Bangladesh. The moderator for the session was Prof. Manoj K Pandey of BIMTECH.

The panelists were Mr. Girish Kulkarni, MD and CEO, Sun Union Dai-Chi Life Ins. Co, Dr. Shelina Afroza, Chairman, Jiban Bima Corporation, Bangladesh, Mr.Trevor Bull, MD and CEO Aviva Life Insurance Co. India Ltd., Mr. Kapil Mehta, Co-founder Secure Now Insurance Broker and Ms. Kalpana Sampat, COO, DHFL Pramerica Life Insurance Company.

Dr. Hossain   presented an extensive account of the state of the life insurance penetration & density across the entire  Afro-Asian region while chairing the session. He maintained that significant progress had been made by the insurance industry in these countries despite severe  socio-economy challenges.

 

Prof. Manoj K Pandey, while setting the tone talked about the issue of covering only a fraction of the population & also the matter of underinsurance.

He invited members to talk about this issue & identify the trends which could fill this gap.

 

Mr. Girish Kulkarni felt that  the social fabric of the Afro-Asian region as one of the major inhibiting factors affecting the penetration of life insurance. The close family bonding assuring financial  support in turn  deter them from going for life insurance. He was very supportive of the various government initiatives such as “Jan DhanYojana” which made  insurance available to the masses.

Mr. Trevor Bull rued the lack of awareness & gave emphasis on introducing financial awareness at school level itself. He also talked about the use of public-private model to take care of the people working in unorganized sector.

Ms. Kalpana Sampat advocated for the growing use of digital technology & the need of the industry to capitalize on it. She also appreciated the initiatives of companies using digital / social platforms to spread the awareness.

 

Mr. Kapil Mehta stressed on promoting term assurance kinds of plan to take care of the protection gap issue. He wished the increase in intermediation fee for such plans so as to make it viable for the intermediaries to push such risk plans. He expressed satisfaction over the new generation approach about risk related insurance product.

On probing about the role of micro-insurance & its status in Bangladesh, Dr. Hossain shared that the Regulator in Bangladesh is working on relevant regulation & they see a great potential in micro-insurance as the micro credit / finance infrastructure is very strong there.

Dr. Shelina Afroza felt that the collective effort of the insurance industry working in tandem across the Afro-Asian region would help narrow the protection gap.

The second panel discussion of the day was on “Health Insurance Protection -An opportunity to Expand” was chaired by Mr. Warendra Sinha, MD and CEO, MD & CEO of IFFCO Tokio General Insurance Company Limited. The other speakers forming the powerful panel were Dr. Nishant Jain, Programme Director, Indo-German Social Security Programme at GIZ (German International Cooperation) ,Ms. Malti Jaswal, Senior Consultant, World bank Group, Dr. KholoudElshafie, Medical Insurance Consultant, Suez Canal Life Insurance and Mr. Praveen Yadav , COO, MD India Healthcare Services.

In his opening remark, Mr. Warendra Sinha mentioned that the general insurance business profile had undergone a sea change. There was a time when fire, engineering and marine formed the bulk of GI business – today it is less than 10%. Motor and Health are the two major drivers of GI business today in India. The Modicare along with other schemes covers around 50% population –the rest 50% needs to be covered. Even today the protection gap is huge, and thus, throws up great opportunities for health insurance to grow in days to come.

Prof (Dr).Abhijit Chattoraj , Chairperson –Insurance Business Programme of BIMTECH, while moderating the panel discussion, clarified the concept of health protection gap and how it was different from other protection gaps. India’s Health protection gap at Rs.369bn USD is whopping, Modicare can possibly reverse this trend.

 

Ms Malti Jaswal pointed out how Modicare would increase the health insurance penetration in India by stating that Government of India in one sweep covered 50 crore beneficiaries. This aggregation is of unimaginable scale which shows the very serious intent of the government. In a short span of time, 3 crore people got their e card (which is not mandatory) but shows the awareness of the people for this scheme.

Dr. Nishant Jain talked at length about the success of Thailand UHC model, stating that political will was the main reason behind the success of UHC in Thailand. “The supply side reforms –particularly payment reforms contributed significantly in Thailand model. The rationalization of medicine costs made huge impact in Thailand model. They have three schemes and they were allowed to run under one umbrella without being merged. India can take a cue from this” added Dr.Jain.

 

Dr. KholoudElshafie spoke about the Long Term Care schemes in vogue in Egypt and how it was adding to bridge the protection gap.

 

Mr. Praveen Yadav felt that the enrolment in most schemes suffered primarily because of the involvement of private agencies. The enrolment was very high in Aarogysri and the scheme in Assam because government agencies were involved. He felt that standardisation of health insurance services would help bridge the protection gap.

The last session of the day was on “InsureTech: Have They Been Up To the Challenge?” This session was chaired by Dr. Rakesh Agarwal, Editor, The Insurance Times and Secretary General, Risk Management Association of India. The moderator for the session was Prof. K.K. Krishnan of PGDM-IBM BIMTECH.

The panelists were Mr. Shadi J. H. Saadeh, General Manager, ESKADENIA Software, UAE, Mr. Inderjeet Sen, CEO, Krish Mark Pvt. Ltd., Mr. Vijay Raghunathan, Head – Insurance Consulting and Transformation, Larsen & Toubro Infotech Ltd. and Mr. Ashustoh Shrotriya, Senior VP, Religare.

Dr. Agarwal gave an overall view of the state of the industry, IT in insurance, changing trends in customer perception and the emergence of disruptive technologies playing a role in the fintech area, which also included insurance. He also outlined the Challenges and Opportunities in the Insuretech and the way forward for the industry.

 

Prof. K. K. Krishnan, in his brief introduction to the topic characterized the Insurtech impact on the industry as uberization of insurance forced by the shift in industry focus from product to being customer centric.

 

The panel started by looking at the tech environment. Speaking on the subject, Mr. Raghunathan drew attention to the necessity for accuracy in primary data for effective pattern recognition and anomaly detection for sound company operations. He listed the many emerging new risks such as cyber, gig economy, rising customer expectations, shifting regulatory environment, demographic shifts and emergence of new tools like the Cloud, Mobilenet, wearables, AI, IoT etc. which has fundamentally changed how insurance companies would be operating in the future.

Mr. Indrajeet Sen, CEO, Krish Mark Infotech (I) Pvt Ltd, spoke about the rise of the new digital companies and the technology solutions that’s helping in enhancing efficiency, speed of operations, ease of predictive modelling, value chain innovation etc. which should lead to reduction in operations costs, should improve regulatory compliance, monitoring and reporting and improve the overall quality of the insurance solicitation process.

 

Mr. Ashutosh Shrotriya, spoke on the adoption of such technologies for fraud detection, accurate underwriting and ease of access to millennial customers as boons from InsureTech. Use of big data and data analytics is helping to build blockchain, distributed ledger, KYC AML, claim processing and record keeping in companies.

Mr. Saadeh spoke about the adoption at the insuretech in GCC countries which has resulted in the offering of simple products and straight through processing in the general insurance markets in the Middle East. The session which lasted for more than 90 minutes also show every hectic Q&A segment towards the end.

 

The fourth panel discussion of the seminar was on the theme- “Reinsurance: Coping up with worsening Nat Cat environment”. The high powered panel had distinguished members – Mr Praveen Gupta- Thought Leader, Ex MD & CEO, Raheja QBE General Insurance Co Ltd, Mr Praveen Vashistha- CEO & MD, Howden India, Mr Samiran Lahiri- ED & CEO ( Principal Officer), Preferred Partners Insurance Brokers Pvt Ltd, Mr Kingshuk Chakraborty, Senior Underwriter-P&C, Hannover Risk SE, Mr Abhijit Datar-Chief Underwriting Officer, AGCS India. The moderator was Prof Pratik Priyadarshi (BIMTECH).

The subject was introduced by Mr Praveen Gupta with reference to the Climate Changes, the triggers for the Nat Cat events and the carbon footing that we are leaving behind as a legacy. He was of the view that sustainability of insurance was at stake and product development aiming to take care of the Nat Cat perils need to be developed.

Prof,Pratik Priyadarshi, while moderating the session strongly felt that it was the right time for the Indian insurance industry to come out with specific policies for Nat Cat events.

 

 

Mr Kingshuk Chakraborty took pains to simplify and explain what exactly was meant by the terms Nat Cat and how it affected the Reinsurance arrangements. He then also went on to talk about the Cat modelling and the effectiveness of the same. He conceded that in present times, the modelling may not be very effective.

Mr Praveen Vashistha gave us a general background of the Afro Asian region and the implications of Reinsurance thereon. He also explained the Cat modelling and talked about protection gap, the accumulation, free capital and loose capital, in the context.

 

Accprding to Mr Samiran Lahiri coping with natural catastrophe has multiple angles beyond just the physical or economic reconstruction. The psycho-socio eco-system including community has a major role. The Reinsurance protection formats are also changing from conventional Reinsurance to Alternative Risk Transfer  Like CAT bonds, weather derivatives, contingent surplus notes etc. Capital market is very much a Re-Insurance domain player,

 

Mr Abhijit Datar was more specific about the major Property and Engineering losses in Asian context and the role we need to play in the same.

 

 

The most exciting Round was the Research paper/Technical paper presentation. There were eight presenters from various countries.

Dr. Madhusudhan Acharyya, Senior Lecturer in Risk and Finance, Glasgow Caledonian University – London Campus got the first prize for his research paper on “UN Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Risk Exposures – Proposing a Risk Financing Model for Bangladesh”.

Dr.Mohsen Gharahkhani (PhD), Deputy managing Director, Razi Insurance Company & Ms. Nadereh Samie Daryani (M.A.), from Iran got the second prize for their presentation on “Analyzing the Impacts of Blockchain Technology on the Insurance Business Model”, and Mr. Shubasish Barua-First Senior Vice President Green Delta Insurance Company Limited Bangladesh got the third prize for his presentation on “ Innovating and Implementation of Micro Health Insurance –The Bangladesh Way “.

Mrs.T.L. Alamelu, Chairman cum Managing Director of Agriculture Insurance Company Ltd. of India in her valedictory remark expressed her concern that even today vast chunk of India’s population was without any insurance cover. “We have been growing at 13% which seems very impressive but not good enough to ensure that every Indian has adequate insurance protection in days to come. “ She added.

BIMTECH also honoured Mr. Prabodh Thakker, Chairman, Global Business Brokers Pvt.Ltd and Mr. Atul D.Boda, Chairman & Managing Director –J B Boda Group in recognition of their outstanding services rendered to the growth of insurance industry.

Mr. Prabodh Thakker, a third generation insurance entrepreneur, has been associated with the Indian  and International insurance and reinsurance market for more than three decades.

His astute leadership quality and   excellent entrepreneurial vision has made Global Insurance not only a dominant player but also a company with great reckoning in the Indian insurance market.

He is known for his authority and expertise when it comes to handle various, verticals of insurance including aviation, energy, construction, reinsurance, human risk and human capital consultancy mega risks and risk management practices. He led his company with aplomb by servicing wide and varied clients spread across the industries, coming out with best-in –class solutions The contributions of his illustrious family and his own would always be remembered with pride in the annals of Indian Insurance industry.

Mr. Atul D.Boda, Chairman, J B Boda Group of Companies comes from a family that started Reinsurance broking operation in the year 1943 at time when Re Insurance was an unknown commodity in this country.

The family pioneered Reinsurance Broking in India and today they are one of the most established names in Reinsurance Brokering in India, Asia, Africa, Middle-East, developing countries.They are the first Indian Multinational Reinsurance Broking House operating for over seven decades.

Mr, Atul Boda was honored with the  FAIR Hall of Fame Award at the 25th FAIR Conference held in Bahrain in October 2017 which is a great recognition of his proven leadership capability. Mr. Boda has more than 30 years of experience in the insurance and reinsurance industry around the world.His company celebrated 75 years of their glorious existence last year. The contribution of his own and his eminent family would always be reminisced in the annals of Indian insurance industry with admiration.

The BIMTECH family in its humble way, salutes these two families and their current leaders for their outstanding contributions with the hope that they would continue to guide the Indian Insurance industry and take it to new heights in days to come.

The seminar which was attended by more than 100 delegates got rave appreciation for the quality discourse.