European insurers and brokers need to think differently about the EMEA region in today's low-growth economy if they are to unlock opportunities, according to Ace Europe chairman Andrew Kendrick.
Addressing senior chief executives and management from the London insurance market at a conference today, Kendrick outlined Ace's five-point recipe for European success.
Experts believe that growth in world trade will continue to outpace growth in GDP in the years ahead, so global trade growth offers the first opportunity for Europe's insurance industry, Kendrick said.
The increasing focus clients have on financial counterparty risk can also be used to insurers' advantage, Kendrick commented.
"As European clients continue to focus on financial counterparty risk, I believe that financially strong insurers will be able to claim real competitive advantage," he said.
"I predict that balance sheet strength will become a driver of differentiated pricing in Europe in the not too distant future."
Firms seeking growth may need to look beyond the traditional property and casualty markets, however.
"Europe is a region with an ageing population, and considerable personal wealth. At the same time, it has massive unfunded pension liabilities and costly healthcare systems," Kendrick said.
"As a result of all this, I believe that some of Europe's best opportunities lie outside the P&C sector right now."
Kendrick also recommended that firms embrace the region's emerging markets. As insurance becomes "an increasingly understood aspect of social and economic well-being across the region's emerging markets, from Poland to the Gulf", the European insurance industry, as a close neighbour, is well placed to take advantage, he said.
Kendrick's final advice was to capitalise on the re-emergence of London as a global insurance leader.
London has "steadily reasserted itself as the capital of global insurance", and industry participants based in the capital are particularly well placed to take advantage of the most important macro trends, such as the growth of trade and emerging markets.
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