INSURANCE IN ASIA: 2019 - REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT

08 February 2019

REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT

The regulatory environment is an important factor in the development of any industry across the globe. Supportive laws and regulations enable continuous growth, while a complex and bureaucratic regulatory environment could be an impediment to progress.

The supportiveness of insurance regulators across Asia has led to strong growth figures for the industry. Within the past two to three years, regulators in a few of the Asian economies have opened up to foreign investments, encouraged technology adoption and created new laws (supporting start-ups, regulatory sandbox, revising capital requirements, etc.) to adapt to the changing insurance environment.

The year 2019 would also be characterised by similar trends. In order to get a better idea on the direction of the regulatory environment, below are regulatory updates across Asia during H2 2018:

Possibility of/Recently Passed New Rules
  • The Hong Kong Insurance Authority (IA) has launched a two-month public consultation on draft rules for licensed insurance brokers; it was last updated a couple of decades ago.
  • The Bangladesh Cabinet has approved a new insurance law, called the Insurance Corporation Act, 2018, replacing a 1973 version. It contains updated regulation regarding capital and administration requirements for a state-owned insurance company.
  • The Philippines Insurance Commission (IC) has published a set of rules covering insurance Web aggregators to better supervise and monitor the insurance sector.
  • Indonesia’s Financial Services Authority (OJK) announced that it is currently preparing and discussing technical regulations covering digital insurance. The rules would serve as guidelines for the implementation of the marketing of insurance products through digital or electronic platforms.
  • Indonesia’s insurance regulator invited stakeholders of the insurance sector to provide development ideas.
  • The Indian insurance regulator (IRDAI) released a draft paper proposing regulations to standardise life insurance products. Several amendments were made to the benefit of customers.
Relaxing Regulations/ Focusing on Insurance Industry Growth
  • Allianz (China) Insurance Holding Company Limited would be China’s first-ever wholly-owned insurance holding company by a foreign insurer and would be based in Shanghai. China’s insurance regulator is likely to make it easier for foreign-owned joint ventures to expand into new provinces.
  • China’s insurance regulator announced that it would accept applications early next year from foreign insurers seeking to take control of their local joint ventures and is even considering giving them full ownership earlier than flagged. The regulator is expected to publish its final guidelines by Q1 2019, post of which it would begin taking applications from interested foreign insurers.
  • The Hong Kong government announced that it would adopt various measures (including tax reliefs) to promote the development of marine insurance segment and underwriting of specialty risks in order to strengthen the territory’s status as an international insurance hub.

The insurance regulators of Asian economies have been active to amend, introduce or relax regulations wherever necessary in order to promote development. With certain goals set for 2019, the regulators’ role will be a key factor in determining industrial growth; primarily because the Asian region still faces challenges of a large insurance protection gap.

This 3-part article aims to shed light on the possible directions that the Asian insurance market can take in 2019 through analysing three trends—InsurTech development, regulatory changes, and evolving cyber threats. Click here to read part 1 on InsurTech development. 

For further information, please contact Graham Edwards, Regional Director of Sales and Marketing at Graham_Edwards@jltasia.com.