Atlas Magazine February 2015

2015: the necessary regulation

With a hindsight, the year 2014 has been rather mild on the overall market. Except for the aviation and Ebola disasters, very few major events are worth mentioning. While the return of the “business-as-usual” scenario is starting to play out among insurers at the beginning of 2015, the fear of a financial catastrophe is haunting the regulators.

This fear will be overwhelmingly present in 2015 and in the years to come. Market oversight requirements are outweighing any other considerations with supervisory authorities increasingly present.

Insurance business reform plans have already been advertized everywhere: strengthening corporate capital base, restructuring intermediation activities, actuarial risk evaluation, improving corporate governance, transparency of insurance operations,…

Operating under enhanced surveillance may seem burdensome for the insurers of emerging countries in Africa and the Middle East. The interest exhibited by investors in these countries left executives with few options to consider: withdrawal or integration within the dominant model.

The latter alternative implies an alignment with international standards, in which case the required qualitative leap cannot be done outside a strengthened legislative framework. This unique and lasting trend whose setting is already planted will inevitably trigger an acceleration of the process of consolidation, mergers and acquisitions.

Eventually, existing insurers will struggle to resist this tidal wave, knowing that in the current race for size the hunter may well become the hunted.

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