February 2014

Talk Around the Bazaar

Lloyd’s, which was earlier not inclined to build overseas hubs, may move into the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) during the fourth quarter and plans to start operations before 2014-end. The Insurance Business Review discusses this adventurous move at http://reinsurance.insurance-business-review.com/news/lloyds-to-launch-new-branch-in-dubai-by-2014-end-280114-4166342

In England, a new body has been launched in a bid to raise standards of behaviour and practice in the insurance broking world. Unlike the legal profession, for example, this is an industry where professionals do not actually need to have passed a qualifying examination and earn a professional designation before being permitted to practise their occupation. There is a need for debate and clarity about codes of conduct and the Insurance Brokers’ Standards Council (IBSC, http://theibsc.org.uk) looks like it could fill this gap. Insurance Age discusses the launch at http://www.insuranceage.co.uk/insurance-age/news/2320724/insurance-brokers-standards-council-launched This is a welcome first step and the next one will be arrival of rules and someone who can enforce them

The Al Madina Insurance Company in Oman has become the first takaful provider in the country and started issuing takaful policies on the 1st January. This is positive, not only for Oman but the whole region where the spread and development of takaful had been slowing down. The Oman Tribune has more details at http://www.omantribune.com/index.php?page=news&id=158746&heading=Business

The new year been accompanied by the usual hindsight and predictions on the past year and the one ahead of us. McKinsey & Co is good at this and they have produced a thoughtful document on China in 2014. We can recommend our readers take this in with a cup of tea or coffee at http://www.mckinsey.com/Insights/Winning_in_Emerging_Markets/What_could_happen_in_China_in_2014?cid=other-eml-alt-mip-mck-oth-1401

With effect from the 1st January 2014, a new reinsurer has entered the international market. At http://eurfpn.advisen.com/fpnHomepagep.shtml?resource_id=211393173571944693&userEmail=george.worsley@worldwiderisksolutions.com#top Advisen tells us that Kafolat Insurance Company in Tashkent has been registered by the Ministry of Justice in Uzbekistan to accept inbound reinsurance. The English translation on their website http://www.kafolat.uz does not yet work but readers can find some useful information from UzReport at http://insurance.uzreport.uz/cgi-bin/main.cgi?raz=6&praz=1&id=12&lan=e

These days, it is no longer unusual for experts around the world to overwhelm us with discoveries and research analysis which is so formidable and believable that it is a wonder how anyone can remain sane. Geologists have discovered “earthquake lights” (http://eurfpn.advisen.com/fpnHomepagep.shtml?resource_id=211266528-1367480113&userEmail=george.worsley@worldwiderisksolutions.com#top) and in California, there is the potential for a super-volcano to erupt and wipe out civilisation. Scary as this new is, it pales in credibility with a recent study by Monash University in Melbourne. Their study on giant earthquakes and a new global map of subduction zones is an excellent piece of research. See for yourself at http://monash.edu/news/show/global-map-to-predict-giant-earthquakes

The growth of insurance-linked securities (ILS) helped Guernsey increase the number of insurers licensed last year: 89 new international insurers were licensed on the island. This is impressive and Intelligent Insurer has further details at http://www.intelligentinsurer.com/news/ils-boosts-insurance-formations-on-guernsey

Bermuda rose to the challenge, however and Business Insurance discusses the “91” at http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20140120/NEWS04/140129978?tags=|60|306|76|302|255

Allianz has unveiled a new division to provide employee benefit solutions globally which address the requirements of multinational corporations. Known as Allianz Global Benefits, it will have local centres in three continents and will combine All Net, an already existing global and local network of Allianz subsidiaries and selected external insurance partners in over 80 nations. The new unit is presented at https://www.allianz.com/en/press/news/company/brands/news_2014-01-22.html and there are more than a dozen links out there praising this arrival. This is indeed welcome news; too few carriers have pulled themselves together to form a proper global capability. ING has done so with its Employee Benefits Global Network (http://www.ingemployeebenefits.com/) and Insurope is a formidable player as one can see at http://www.insurope.com/

In January, China’s Fosun International Ltd bought 80 percent of Portugal’s Caixa Geral de Depositos SA’s insurance unit for one billion euros (US$1.36 billion), beating US buyout firm Apollo Management International LLP. This reached the headlines in many countries. For some people this was like a bolt out of the blue but insurance is not new to Fosun. Fosun International has an insurance venture with US life insurer Prudential Financial Inc and operates Peak Reinsurance in Hong Kong. There is quite a story behind this firm and those who are curious can find out more from Forbes at http://www.forbes.com/sites/ywang/2014/01/24/chinas-fosun-wants-to-surpass-ping-an-insurance-in-2014/

Famous quotations. Here are some words of wisdom which have survived the passage of time…

· It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves” – Sir Edmund Hillary

· “One machine can do the work of 50 ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man” – Anon