Global Briefs

Global Briefs – February 2019

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Canada – Crypto-exchange chief dies, with the codes, freezing $250 million

Quadriga CX, a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange, said in court filings that it could not repay at least $250 million to clients because its chief executive, who died in December, was the only person who knew the security keys and passwords needed to access the funds. On February 5 the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia granted the company protection from its creditors for 30 days and approved the accounting firm Ernst & Young to sort out the firm’s finances and explore a possible sale. Quadriga CX announced on January 14 that its CEO Gerald Cotton had died on December 9, 2018, while visiting India. 

China – Non-life insurance sector grows faster than life

China’s insurance industry saw a stable increase in premium income in 2018 amid tightened regulations aimed at defusing financial risks, official data show. Property insurers collected CNY1.2tn in premium income, up 11.52 percent year on year, while life insurance firms saw premium income grow marginally by 0.85 percent to CNY2.6trn. The combined premium in the industry totaled CNY3.8trn ($567bn) in 2018, up by 3.92 percent year on year, according to data from the CBIRC. Major insurers reported relatively faster growth in premium income. Combined premium income of CNY2.19trn was posted by the five biggest listed insurers including Ping An Insurance and China Life Insurance, representing an increase of 10.8 percent year on year. Their premium total represented around 60 percent of the market. The big insurers with their scale have been able to perform better in the market which in the last two years saw tightened regulations aimed at fending off financial risks in the market. (Asia Insurance Review)

Italy ­–­ Italy’s Banks Turn to Insurance Market for New Opportunities

An aging population and struggling state finances could turn into an unlikely boon for Italy’s banks, which have turned to a growing market for insurance to brighten their prospects. Read more HERE

South Korea – Non-life insurers told to expand overseas 

Korean non-life insurers should look for new markets to counter the deteriorating business environment at home, urged the chairman of the General Insurance Association of Korea (GIKA), Kim Yong-duk. Mr. Kim stressed that it is now impossible for insurers to enjoy sustainable growth if they do business in the old way, reported The Korea Times. He also mentioned the motor insurance sector, which has sustained heavy losses due to growing maintenance and repair service fees. “The nation’s non-life insurers are likely to sustain losses of KRW700 bn ($629m) this year,” he said.

United States – Vape pen kills man after exploding in his mouth

Talk about liability and unintended consequences. William Brown stopped at a store selling vaporizer smoking pens outside Fort Worth on Jan. 27. He sat alone in the parked car, put his lips to a pen, and soon after, an explosion sent shards of metal into his face and neck. Read the story HERE. And this isn’t the only vape killing. Another man was killed in Florida last May after his vape pen peppered his head with shrapnel and ignited a fire in his home. There were more than 2,000 vape pen explosion and burn injuries in the United States from 2015 to 2017, according to a study published by Tobacco Control.

Vietnam – Allianz partners with FPT Group to enter Vietnam’s general insurance market

On January 24, 2019, Allianz announced its intention to enter the general insurance sector in Vietnam through a digital joint venture (JV) to be set up with the FPT Group – driving long-term success in the market and expanding Allianz’s footprint in Asia.  FPT Group, as the strategic technology partner, will support Allianz in the fast-growing insurance market in Vietnam to develop innovative digital insurance products and services to meet the protection needs of local customers. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) proposes bringing the two complementary businesses together, with Allianz providing expertise and advice on best practices in insurance product customization, financial technology, and asset management.  FPT will provide access to its distribution channels and affiliates, advise and assist Allianz with local market knowledge, and connect the firm with FPT’s subsidiaries and partners.

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