Atlas Magazine January 2017

2016, a transitional year

At the time of traditional year-end assessment, 2016 seems as a transitional year.

A challenging economic and financial context continues to weigh down on the insurance business, a particularly obvious finding for life insurers who remain vulnerable to low interest rates. In the non life class of business, the timid global economic recovery does not seem to be good enough to boost the industry. Despite results well below the performance of the past, investors remain attracted to the sector. The financial capacities are plethoric, thus triggering fierce competition. Tariffs, especially those of reinsurance, have reached unbearably low levels.

Well beyond the technical and accounting aspects, the year 2016 has been particularly marked by growing regulatory pressure. Throughout the world, regulators have legislated and imposed more and more constraining rules on all the players: insurers, reinsurers, intermediaries. Market soundness has become a priority.

As far as novelty is concerned, the year 2016 has been the one of digital revolution that has upset all aspects. It has opened great prospects for insurers who, nonetheless, have to rethink their products, tariffs, management and distribution networks, without of course overlooking connected items and driverless cars.

The drawback is that digital invasion generates a new loss experience of catastrophic kind. Indeed, cyber criminality is poised to cost insurers very dearly.

Finally, the year 2016 has witnessed the return of merger-acquisition operations with the arrival of new Asian investors, especially Chinese and Japanese ones.

Atlas Magazine N°137, January 2017

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