Asia at growth crossroads - Summary of the Swiss Re Institute Asia Symposium

Asian growth over recent decades has been the result of the unlocking of the market.

At the Swiss Re Institute Symposium on 31 October 2017 in Singapore, over 70 senior representatives from the re/insurance industry, as well as stakeholders from academia and government officials, discussed how to grasp the opportunities in Asia at the cross roads of future growth.

Opening the event, Jeffery Bohn, Director of Swiss Re Institute, explained the mandate of the Institute and the key drivers of Swiss Re's R&D agenda. From building a risk knowledge library to finding new risk pools, to improving the efficiency of the insurance value chain, the Swiss Re Institute has been established as the bold and challenging response of Swiss Re to our changing world of risk.

Watch Jeffrey Bohn's interview he gave at the Swiss Re Institute Asia Symposium

Jayne Plunkett, Regional President Asia and Chief Executive Officer Reinsurance Asia of Swiss Re, emphasised how, with the support of Swiss Re and the Institute, clients can integrate research into their product offerings and become more innovative.

Kishore Mahbubani, Dean of Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy of National University of Singapore, shared his optimistic view on the future growth of Asia. He stated that by 2050 China will be the largest economy in the world, followed by India and the US. The rise of the middle class in Asia, he concluded, would present new opportunities for insurers.

Siong Guan Lim, Former Group President, Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, said we may see the future pace of change accelerate. We have to accept this as a new norm. This will force businesses to be more patient, more open-minded, and more focused on excellence. This will allow them to develop greater resilience should the road become bumpy.

Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Education & Ministry of Communications and Information, and Gerhard Schmitt, founding Director of ETH Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore, joined Jeffery Bohn and the audience in a dialogue on future cities and smart nations. They drew on a rich well of case studies and examples. The Minister highlighted the ambition of Singapore to become a smart nation by sharing a number of practical examples. Gerhard Schmitt cautioned that citizenship has to be included into any such journey.

Focussing on utilising research outcomes to drive business growth, the breakout sessions at the Symposium covered topics including blockchain; AI; diabetes; supporting longer lives; expanding insurability; and managing natural catastrophe risks within agriculture insurance. A common theme of discussions was how technology is affecting the insurance value chain.

In closing, John Dacey, Head of Strategy at Swiss Re, reinforced the notion of Asia and the insurance markets being at a crossroad. It is the ambition of the Swiss Re institute to help its clients navigate their path into the future.

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Summary of the Swiss Re Institute's Symposium (Asia) in October 2017. Summary written by Simon Woodward, Senior Business Development Manager, Swiss Re Institute.