Asia & Oceania

Record participation and active engagement at the Asian Insurance Forum 2020

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Mrs Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the Government of the HKSAR

The Asian Insurance Forum (AIF) 2020 was held today (8 December 2020) under the theme of “Spearheading Change for a Sustainable and Resilient Future”, where prestigious speakers gathered with about 1,000 online participants to discuss potential growth drivers for the insurance industry amidst uncertainties arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his welcome remarks, Dr Moses Cheng, Chairman of the Insurance Authority (IA), praised the Hong Kong insurance industry for its resilience and explained how facilitative measures on virtual onboarding have contributed towards business facilitation and structural rebalancing.

Dr Cheng pointed out that, “Crises raise awareness of individuals and corporates on how fragile they are in the face of natural perils”, stressing that “Improved financial inclusiveness and narrowed protection gap will in turn render our economy more resilient to external shocks and the insurance market more sustainable. Performing a dual role as prudential regulator and the promoter of sustainable development of the insurance industry, the IA is in a unique position to engineer changes for resilience.”

In an opening address, Mrs Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), reiterated her determination to promote development of Hong Kong as a regional insurance hub and global risk management centre by leveraging on the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

She said, “My Government is in an advanced stage of discussion with the Mainland on the proposed establishment of after-sale service centres. That would mark a breakthrough in financial connectivity, and make it much easier for holders of policies issued in Hong Kong and Macao to acquire comprehensive customer support in the Mainland cities of the Greater Bay Area.”

Mr Jonathan Dixon, Secretary General of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), shared insights on enhanced cross-border supervisory cooperation to detect and mitigate systemic risks, particularly for Internationally Active Insurance Groups, as well as calling for increased attention on the impact of climate change and technological innovations.

Mr Paul Chan, Financial Secretary of the HKSAR, delivered the second keynote speech and brought into play the social dimension of insurance. “Insurance could play an effective role in risk pooling, providing people with the means to secure health protection and plan early for retirement.

A shift in mindset from an emphasis on savings and investment return to a focus on protection is essential if we are to narrow the protection gap,” he said.

The event featured a total of three panel discussions - the first one on GBA moderated by Mr Laurence Li, Chairman of the Financial Services Development Council; the second one on BRI moderated by Mr Christopher Hui, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury; and the final one on Insurtech moderated by Dr George Lam, Chairman of the Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited. Mr Bernard Chan, Convenor of the Non-Official Members of the Executive Council, together with Mr Clement Cheung, Chief Executive Officer of the IA, provided the closing remarks on how industry stakeholders should work together for a more promising future.

For more details, please refer to the AIF website.

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