Events, developments, and opportunities in the international insurance marketplace.
Recent Successes in International Insurance:
- Bound a Yacht and Pleasurecraft Insurance Policy for a new 37’ 2021 SeaVee Sport Fishing Boat located in Greater Exuma, Bahamas.
- Placed a standalone commercial property policy for a permanently rented vacation home in Christiansted, St Croix, United States Virgin Islands.
- Bound a standalone D&O Liability policy in Switzerland. This was for a volunteer women’s organization advocating on behalf of women’s rights and religious autonomy.
The global takaful and the fund’s sector is expected to grow this year, although its contribution to the industry remains small. The global Islamic finance industry will grow by 10-12% in 2021-2022. This growth is after slowing to 10.6% in 2020 (excluding Iran). This is because Islamic banking assets are growing in some GCC countries, Malaysia, and Turkey. New Sukuk issuances (sharia-compliant bonds) are also exceeding maturing ones. The forecast is for total Sukuk issuance of about $140bn-$155bn this year (compared to $139.8bn in 2020). The industry has yet to fully unlock opportunities related to standardization and increase its contribution to sustainable finance.
The Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center (DIEDC) and its partners are developing a unified global legal and regulatory framework for Islamic finance. The next 12 months could see progress on this front. Depending on the outcome and its adoption, such a framework could help resolve the lack of standardization and harmonization that the Islamic finance industry has faced for many years. There could also be more frequent issuance of dedicated social Islamic finance instruments and green Sukuk. This is as the industry leverages its alignment with environmental, social, and governance values.
AM Best has revised its market segment outlook to ‘stable’ from ‘negative’ for the South Korean non-life insurance industry. This is based mainly on improved underwriting performance and stabilized expense ratios. It is also based on potential asset risk being effectively limited and controlled by most insurers amid volatile capital markets in 2020. Although the COVID-19 pandemic led to the disruption of face-to-face sales activities, the impact on the overall top-line was limited. This is notable given non-life insurers’ large base of recurring long-term insurance premiums and strong growth of automobile insurance due to industry-wide rate increment exercises in 2019 and early 2020.
The South Korean non-life segment reported a rising overall expense ratio–to 23.0% in 2019 from 19.0% in 2015. Although, it appears to have stabilized at 21.9% in 2020. Over-competition in the general agency channel has receded. This is due to the implementation of a regulatory restriction on sales commissions and insurers’ effort to recover bottom lines. Investment profits declined by 9.4% in 2020 but have since rebounded in the second half. They now exceed pre-pandemic levels as of Q1 2021.
Non-life insurance companies are seeing a sharp spike in claims in the wake of higher COVID-19 infection rates. This situation could impact their balance sheets if the trend continues. As of March 31st, non-life companies including health insurers received 980,000 claims totaling INR145.6bn ($2bn) for COVID-19. The number of claims rose to 1.48m as of May 14th for a total value of INR229.55bn. This means that in the first 44 days of the new fiscal year that started on April 1st, COVID-19 claims amounted to INR83.85bn. This is 57% of the pandemic-related claims for FY21. This is against the backdrop of insurers that had the advantage of a revision in premium rates and lower claims last year, leading to concerns about the impact on balance sheets.
We have a unique position in the international risk management and employee benefits marketplace. We have the ability and resources to help you with international insurance. To learn more, please contact our office at 1-800-661-1518 to speak with an international advantage team member.