The fundamentals of underwriting and its future takes centre stage in this issue of the INSURANCE magazine. In our efforts to encourage industry players to return to basics, we have prepared special features on underwriting, with hopes that our readers understand the importance of enhancing technical knowledge, its role in producing better underwriting returns and challenges in retaining such knowledge in this highly digitised world.
It is undeniable that this new era of digitisation brings with it countless possibilities and opportunities for the industry to grow but it is not without challenges. The issue of talent development is still at the top of the list. Through industry-wide surveys, it is apparent that the industry needs a new breed of technical experts. This young talent pool together with technology experts will be able to create insurance-specific systems that will simplify work processes and change customer experiences. With these changes, insurance can become an even more competitive and efficient; and most importantly remain relevant in the market.
Relevancy is proven a critical factor in the success of both the general and life insurance markets. The life insurance industry recorded a moderate growth in insurance coverage among Malaysians in 2018, registering a total of RM1.51 trillion in sum assured for all policies combined. This registered an increase of 9.6% as compared with the corresponding figure of RM1.38 trillion in 2017. Sum assured for 2019 may continue to increase with products like Critical Illness Insurance and Medical Insurance products are now available via direct distribution channels.
The General Insurance Industry registered a growth of 1.5% in 2018 mainly from Motor Insurance and Fire Insurance products. Gross written premiums amounted to RM 17.92 billion. Motor remained the largest class with a market share of 47.3% followed by Fire at 19.6% and Marine Aviation & Transit (MAT) at 7.4%. Looking ahead, PIAM anticipates the general insurance industry to continue growing in 2019.
The government too has made huge leaps in their initiatives to ensure the B40 sector is financially protected in times of need. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Malaysian government on the “mySalam” scheme to help the B40 sector. Other than its aim to provide takaful protection to the public, the scheme is also aimed at raising awareness and understanding among the B40s on insurance coverage, critical illnesses, claims and takaful. We hope to see more public-private collaborations in the near future.
Before I end my note, I would like to welcome Mr Rangam Bir, CEO of Gibraltar BSN, as a new member of MII’s Board of Directors. We look forward to the fresh perspectives and valuable insight of our new board member as we continue to serve the Malaysian insurance industry.