November 2010

Talk Around the Bazaar

The Syrian Government is creating a state-owned investment holding company and one of the new firm’s objectives will be to attract investment and set up joint ventures in insurance, amongst other things. For more information, go to http://gulfnews.com/business/economy/syria-creates-holding-firm-1.690819 and if you are looking for a quick overview of the Syrian insurance industry, the Global Arab Network helps at http://www.english.globalarabnetwork.com/201010247791/Finance/insurance-market-records-2471-growth-in-syria.html

Aviva has embarked upon a global brand campaign entitled “You are the big picture” and part of this is the launch of The Future Prosperity Panel, a global think tank in partnership with the Economist Intelligence Unit. This panel will look at behaviour change, economics and policy to investigate the big picture on the major global financial issues of tomorrow. Easier Finance describes this at http://www.easier.com/78282-aviva-customers-big-picture.html

With the latest increase from 7.5% to 9.5% from the 1st January 2011, Dutch insurance tax has gone up by 30% in three years. For the latest in other countries, please go to TMF at http://www.tmf-vat.com/

TMF has also recently launched the world’s first premium tax calculation tool (see http://www.tmf-group.com/en/Latest-News/the-first-insurance-premium-tax-tool.html) and the London & International Insurance Brokers’ Association, www.liiba.co.uk has selected TMF to provide them with IPT Quote

Talking about tax, captive insurance, reinsurance and asset management are amongst the activities to enjoy tax incentives under the new tax regime announced by the Qatar Financial Services Authority. Their website has a comprehensive overview at http://www.qfc.com.qa/en-us/Media-center/Media-news-detail.aspx?sNewsID=be471ad5-3984-4d34-ae75-33b25d8effc8

The last mention on the subject of tax (for now) is the impending removal of VAT exemption on the outsourced service of claims handling in the U.K. and once again, TMF is right on it at http://www.tmf-vat.com/tmf-in-the-media/eu-threatens-to-remove-vat-ememption-on-insurance-outsourcing-costs.html?dm_i=DEV,9Z4F,1M4T7W,QYC6,1

Also in the U.K., a new trade association – for managing general agents – is set to be launched next month. The MGAA already has its website at http://www.mgaa.co.uk/ and has very clearly set goals which is good because the market has hitherto been divided on the subject of MGAs, as the excellent article from POSTonline will tell you at http://www.postonline.co.uk/post/analysis/1213706/managing-agents-extreme-reactions

Hong Kong is to introduce a voluntary health insurance scheme aimed at getting more people to use private healthcare services. “My Health, My Choice” will hopefully become a successful model to ease the increasing demand on the public healthcare system which has been creaking for years. The Standard has a good report at http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?pp_cat=30&art_id=103593&sid=29840322&con_type=1

Meanwhile in Singapore, ministers are considering extending MediShield, the Government-run, low cost catastrophic illness scheme to an even wider portion of the population (currently 88%). For ElderShield, a specific disability scheme for those who need long term care, especially the elderly, the government has appointed three private insurers to run it. To learn more about the country’s healthcare system, go to http://www.moh.gov.sg/mohcorp/careers.aspx?id=5252

XL has been granted a licence to underwrite business in and through the Labuan insurance market. For more information on the Labuan International Offshore Financial Centre, see http://www.lowtax.net/lowtax/html/jlbobs.html#intro and for more about XL, please go to http://www.xlinsurance.com

A question: how many French brokers are accredited at Lloyd’s? The answer: two – Eyssautier (www.groupe-eyssautier.com) and Platus (www.platus.eu)

The aftermath of the New Zealand earthquake has proved challenging for local insurance companies as an interesting article by the ICMIF will tell you at http://www.icmif.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=251%3Amutuality-in-practice-the-aftermath-of-the-new-zealand-earthquake&catid=45%3Amember-news&Itemid=374&lang=en

Following our article on developments in the Algerian market last month, with effect from next year, insurers will have to cede 50% of their reinsurance business to the state-owned Compagnie Centrale de Réassurance (CCR). Their excellent website is worth a look at http://www.ccr.dz/index.php

The first Middle East Brokers Summit is to be held in Dubai towards the end of November. It is not too late to register, at http://www.bvents.com/event/389569-middle-east-brokers-summit For those who can stay on a for a couple of months, the first Middle East Oil & Gas Insurance Conference is being held in January next year http://www.bvents.com/event/389570-middle-east-oil-gas-insurance-conference

Foreign workers in Malaysia will soon be covered for work-related diseases and accidents by compulsory Worker’s Compensation insurance but for non-occupational diseases and injuries. The Asia Insurance Review has more at http://www.asiainsurancereview.com/pages/e-weekly.asp?country=10&articleID=13043#13043

The U.K. government plans to close the gap in the provision for old age by creating automatic pension enrolment in 2012. Much more will be written about this but Business Insurance has started with http://www.asiainsurancereview.com/pages/e-weekly.asp?country=10&articleID=13043#13043

Here are a few more paraprosdokians, a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way which causes the reader or listener to re-frame or re-interpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect. For this reason, it is extremely popular among comedians and satirists. Further examples are:

  • Some people cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go
  • A bus is a vehicle which runs twice as fast as when you are in it, when you are chasing it