Atlas Magazine January 2012

Assessment and perspectives

At long last, the year 2011 which has been endured by the insurance business as a nightmare, is finally over.

Insurers and reinsurers will be haunted by 2011 for quite some time as the year of all evils. Against all odds: successive natural catastrophes, threats of nuclear disaster, debt crisis, economic slowdown, political turmoil, loss of financial revenues, sanctions sustained by rating agencies. It was all gloom and doom for already overwhelmed actors.

Shaken, but not knocked out, the insurance market is still standing. It has certainly been affected by this annus horribilis, yet it still represents a pole of stability in an agitated environment.

What to expect from 2012?

For mature countries, Europe, North America, Japan, Australia, the current environment left them with no possible options but to re-establish technical profits; hence the necessity to reduce costs, increase productivity and profitability. Some activities will have to be restructured and rationalized, while the process needs to be reconsidered and management improved.

Finally, with the insurance business mobilizing a great deal of shareholder’s equity, several stakeholders like banks will withdraw from the profession.

For emerging countries, the perspectives are more optimistic.
Markets are not saturated and consumers are seeking for protection. It is in personal line insurance, health, caution, microinsurance, takaful for the MENA zone countries and bancassurance, that the margin for progression remain most important. Insurance-related services such as training, the creation of management tools and information technologies will stand as a promising niche for development.

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