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Increasing demand for insurance in Asia

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Dylan Bryant

Dylan Bryant

Wednesday 16 July 2014 – A few months into his new role at Lloyd’s as General Representative for Hong Kong, we ask Dylan Bryant about the opportunities and challenges in the Asian insurance market.(source: Lloyd’s of London)

What was your previous role and what attracted you to Lloyd’s?

I’ve spent the last 14 years working for Zurich in London, New York, Hong Kong and Sydney. I’ve been based in Hong Kong for the last five years working on the development of Zurich’s international insurance programmes. When I first heard about the Lloyd’s Hong Kong General Representative role I was instantly drawn by the brand, the people and the platform that Lloyd’s has in Hong Kong. I really felt it was a great opportunity to learn something new.

What is your background in insurance?

I started out in a call centre for personal lines and then moved into an analyst role before becoming an underwriter, focused on alternative risks. Then I moved into international programmes with a focus on distribution, customer management and marketing.

How do you think the insurance and reinsurance market is developing in Asia/Hong Kong?

The insurance market is changing rapidly throughout Asia. The fast-growth developing economies in Asia are seeing insurance demand increase across the board, often from a very low baseline. The more mature insurance markets are seeing growth in emerging risks and the specialist insurance lines that Lloyd’s excels in, which could potentially provide Lloyd’s with a strong outlook.

On the reinsurance side, the first Hong Kong domiciled reinsurer, Peak Re, was established in 2012 and is providing significant amounts of capacity and competing head to head with the big multinational reinsurers in the region. One thing that we can expect to continue to see is insurers retaining more risk themselves, putting further competitive pressure on reinsurers.

What do you think are the challenges facing the Asian market?

Asian (re)insurers face a few key challenges as I see it. First is underwriting profit, second is regional expansion into new markets, such as Myanmar, and third is how to increase insurance penetration in the region. The third is the most important I think as this provides not only opportunities for insurers, but also holds the greatest social and economic value to society. So often in Asia we see devastating natural catastrophes that involve communities that are grossly underinsured. If we can improve insurance penetration rates, we can help to improve people’s lives and help communities recover quickly from these events.

What opportunities do you think there are for Lloyd’s in Asia?

Lloyd’s biggest opportunities in Hong Kong are based on expanding the coverholder model into new classes of business. I also think if we are able to co-locate all the syndicate service companies in Hong Kong this will provide a huge boost to our brand awareness and competitiveness with corporate clients in Hong Kong. On a macro level the biggest opportunity I can see for the region is the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community, which aims to become a ‘single market’ similar to the EU. This I expect will be a huge opportunity for the insurance industry in the region and Hong Kong which is looking to sign a free trade agreement with ASEAN.

Which lines of business are the most attractive in Hong Kong? Which lines of business are proving most competitive?

Generally speaking, Accident and Health including travel is the most profitable line of business in the Hong Kong market, while Workers Compensation (locally known as Employers Compensation or EC) is very difficult to make a profit on. There are over 160 insurance companies operating in Hong Kong, so Lloyd’s is always competing against someone, but market’s reputation for expert underwriting and tailored risk solutions puts it at an advantage in the market.

What is Lloyd’s strategy for the next 12 months in Hong Kong and what is your role in implementing that strategy?

I think my role is to help define what the new strategy will be and I’m using the first few months to take a close look at where we should be focused for the next 3-5 years. We are very fortunate to have such a flexible operating model in Hong Kong, which gives us many options and I’m confident the future will be bright for Lloyd’s in Hong Kong.

What do you do to relax outside of work?

I really like boating and going to the beach, we are lucky in Hong Kong that there are a lot of islands and beaches to explore. When I’m not doing those I like to go skydiving, which is a great way to take your mind off work and almost anything else outside of those 60 seconds of freefall.

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