Press release

Macroeconomic trends and a slow growth rate pose greatest threat to insurance industry

New York, 27 June 2013

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As insurers adjust to a new environment of lower asset returns and stricter regulation, macroeconomic trends and a slow growth rate top the industry’s risk agenda, according to a new report released today by Ernst & Young Business Pulse: Exploring the dual perspectives of the top risks and opportunities in 2013 and beyond.

Our research is based on a survey of executives at over 65 insurance companies across the globe, who shared their insights and perspectives on the factors driving the industry over the next five years. The study identified the top 10 most important risks facing the industry, along with the opportunities insurers can capitalize on.

“In their search for growth and revenue, insurers need to optimize capital and asset liability strategies, remain cost competitive, while not losing sight of their customers’ needs. Adapting to evolving market and regulatory change will be a challenge that requires employing new technologies and building flexibility into all aspects of our business,” says Shaun Crawford, Ernst & Young’s Global Insurance Sector Leader.

The top 10 risks identified by the research are:

  1. Macroeconomic trends: how to deal with ongoing slower growth
  2. Regulation: a broad set of new regulations are emerging as a major source of risk
  3. Eurozone debt crisis: factoring in the global consequences of the crisis
  4. Reputational risk: safeguarding your reputation
  5. Corporate governance failures: with regulatory change, stakeholders seek confidence in corporate governance
  6. Cyber-risk and data security: how to contain the growing threat
  7. Talent recruiting skills: acquisition and retention of talent challenges insurers
  8. Impact of tax and accounting changes: recent actions are closely tied to regulation risk
  9. Operational risk: quantification of risk on the organization
  10.   Availability and cost of capital: a continuing concern and how to attract investors

As highlighted in our report, there are many opportunities for insurers to improve their business, enhance revenue and focus on the customer. Improved distribution and product development dominates our list of this year’s opportunities and is expected to remain high in the rankings by 2015. Paul Clark, Asia Pacific Insurance Leader, adds: “Today’s insurers are enabling advances in product development through new metrics and social media tools, promoting the advantages of insurance to a younger audience and better interacting with customers approaching retirement.”

The full report, Ernst & Young’s Business Pulse: top risks and opportunities for 2013 and beyond, can be accessed at www.ey.com/insurance.

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