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EC News: Asia Edition 15 November 2016

  • Publish Date: Posted over 7 years ago

Ransomware attacks to quadruple in 2016

Ransomware attacks will be four times greater this year than in 2015 when looking at current trends. The money taken from target companies continues to be low, usually around US$1,000. However, a detailed review of company systems and data is then needed to make sure the malware has been removed and data is clean. During the first nine months of 2016 1,437 data breaches were recorded compared to 931 breaches during the same period in 2015. Analysis of these breaches confirmed that ransomware attacks are on the increase. Beazley’s clients were the targets of more attacks in July and August in 2016, with 52 recorded, than in all of 2015 where just 43 were recorded. The insurer expects to respond to four times as many ransomware attacks in 2016 than 2015. Financial institutions are witnessing greater breaches involving hacking and malware. In the first nine months of 2016 hacking and malware breaches made up 39% of the data breaches suffered by financial institutions, in 2015 this figure was 26%.


Cash flow protection at the top of business agenda

An estimated 90% of Asia Pacific region suppliers have seen late payments for invoices from their B2B customers. 40% of these APAC suppliers plan on increasing the use of credit management tools to protect cash flow from the B2B customers' late payments in the coming year. Nearly half plan on checking their customers' creditworthiness and payment history more often over the same time frame. Emerging Asia will continue to outpace other world regions in terms of GDP growth. The two Asian giants, India, with a 7.5% growth forecast this year, and China, with a 6.6% growth forecast, are expected to lead this growth. Against this background, businesses are focusing on the protection of their receivables' portfolio from customers' late payment. Due to a majority of suppliers experiencing late payment of invoices from their B2B customers, most had to take special measures to ensure a positive cash flow and that they intern had to pay their own suppliers late. 25% had to ask for financing from banks, factors or others to get the necessary funds to pay their own creditors, and 22% had to request a bank overdraft extension. This could explain why most of the businesses in APAC agree that cost containment and maintaining adequate cash flow will be the greatest challenges to the profitability of their business this year.


The 5 top insurers on Social Media

AIA, Manulife, Prudential, AXA and Allianz are the top 5 insurance brands on social media in the Asia region, according to a social media monitoring report. AIA reportedly grew the most across its social media channels which include Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, while AXA came out as the most active. Prudential gained the most interactions across its social-media channels, including Facebook and YouTube. The report looked at the leading players in social media among insurance companies in Southeast Asia. The companies were rated on three factors, community, publications and interactions. The three most discussed products on social media in the region were health, home and car insurance.



Talks end for sale of Hong Leong's insurance business

Hong Leong Financial Group have revealed that talks regarding the sale of its insurance businesses have ended without a conclusion. The company confirmed it had received approvals from the central bank of Malaysia in June to begin the sale in its insurance businesses. The firm was given six months from 23 June to finalise any negotiations. The insurance businesses are Hong Leong Assurance (HLA) and takaful operator Hong Leong MSIG Takaful (HLMT). HLA Holdings owns 70% of HLA and 65% of HLMT. The remaining interests in both companies are held by Japan's Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance. HLFG said, "Further to our announcement dated 30 June 2016, we wish to inform that Hong Leong Financial Group and HLA Holdings could not reach an acceptable commercial agreement with the BNM-approved negotiating parties and have mutually agreed to cease negotiations."


Lloyd’s application to create a reinsurance branch in India approved

Lloyd’s application to create a reinsurance branch in India has been approved, meaning that the Lloyd’s market is now in a position to set up operations in 2017. Visiting New Delhi, as part of the United Kingdom Prime Ministerial trade delegation, Lloyd’s Chairman John Nelson welcomed the decision and supported the programme of reform being undertaken by the Indian Government to open up their reinsurance market. Lloyd’s Chairman, John Nelson said, "This is a very significant day for Lloyd’s and we look forward to establishing a branch in Mumbai in 2017. I believe Lloyd’s can bring unique benefits to India by providing both protection and new opportunities for many domestic insurance businesses. India is one of the world’s greatest growing economies. I passionately believe that our presence will contribute to the development of a more diverse reinsurance market, which is fundamental to the stability and future growth of the Indian economy. This can help position India as a centre for insurance, reinsurance and associated services. The progress India is making in reforming reinsurance markets is encouraging and will bring lasting benefits to the Indian economy. A level playing field for all reinsurers will mean that domestic market can thrive and become a hub for innovative new products that meet the need of businesses.” Liam Fox, the secretary for international trade said, “This is a symbolic decision and one that will not only provide protection for growing Indian businesses but also bring additional revenue to the UK insurance sector. This move is yet another example of the strong economic and commercial partnership between the UK and India a partnership that is extremely important to me and the UK government. The bonds we share, not just of commerce and trade but also historically and culturally, will be at the very heart of the strategic relationship between our two nations.”


New insurance business in Singapore quite for Q3

Singapore’s life insurance industry was flat in the quarter ending September, with total weighted new business sales down 1% from a year ago to S$808.2 million. The subdued performance was attributed to a 14% drop in weighted new business sales of single-premium products at S$232.8 million in Q3. Weighted new business sales of linked single-premium products went up 1% year on year to S$61.2 million, while that of non-linked products fell 19% to S$171.6 million for the quarter. New business sales of annual premium products on a weighted basis grew 6% to S$575.4 million. Data from the Life Insurance Association Singapore (LIA Singapore) revealed that banks continued to be the main channel of distribution by total weighted premium at 40% in Q3. Tied agents made up 36% and financial advisers 20%. The remaining 4% came from other products that are sold without intermediaries such as ElderShield.


Uniform financial framework appeals to more insurers

A standardised financial framework across the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) will result in the creation of new insurance companies and the expansion of existing ones, according to Arthapas Cheuasangpan, Acturial Analyst at Thailand's The Viriyah Insurance. The stronger regional economy which will result from ASEAN integration will lead to increased consumer demand for insurance products and lead to new insurance players in the market and expansion of existing businesses. Cheuasangpan said, “At the moment though, there are examples where countries use different systems, or have different legislation, which makes it difficult for consumers and companies to do business across the region. In order to liberalise the insurance market, the AEC will aim to standardise the financial framework.”


Manulife creates new chief customer officer role

Li Choo Kwek-Perroy has been appointed by Manulife as the chief customer officer and regional head of bancassurance marketing. She took over the role in November and replaces Wendy Walker, who was the senior vice president and chief marketing officer of the company. In her new role, Kwek-Perroy would have added responsibilities for Manulife’s customer centricity, corporate strategy, branding and communications, digital and data analytics and corporate responsibility. Moreover, she would also develop relevant product and marketing strategy for the bancassurance channels and help to grow it further across Asia. In the past 14 years, she has held various positions in the company in different countries. She has also held director role at the regional finance office at AXA in Brussels and was responsible for the company’s regional finance strategic performance and initiatives.


CEO of Value Partners resigns

Timothy Tse Wai-ming is leaving Value Partners after working in the Hong Kong-based fund house for 10 years. A spokeswoman said the firm is still looking at whether a replacement CEO will be hired externally or internally. It is yet to be confirmed if Tse will be taking a new position at another firm. Cheah Cheng-hye will become acting CEO, the 62-year-old co-founder of Value Partners, is now receiving an annual salary of HK$6.06m, plus a discretionary Chinese New Year bonus equivalent to one month of his salary and a year-end discretionary bonus of up to 23% of the firm’s net profit pool as a management bonus, the firm revealed in the statement. He also owns about a 25% stake of the listed group, which has a total market capitalisation of HK$13.4bn ($1.73bn)


Lee Wood appointed by MetLife as CEO Hong Kong

MetLife has revealed the appointment of Lee Wood as CEO for its Hong Kong business. Wood will be based in Hong Kong and will report to Damien Green, regional executive of MetLife Asia. Wood was most recently senior vice president at Allianz Taiwan Life Insurance Company Limited with responsibility for marketing, product development, and the direct marketing channel. Before this, he spent five years at HSBC Life Limited in Taiwan as Managing Director and successfully led their bancassurance manufacturing startup operation prior to its acquisition by Allianz Taiwan Life Insurance Company Limited. He has also held various senior marketing and general manager roles at leading insurance companies throughout Asia which include ING Antai Life Insurance Company Limited in Taiwan, PT AIG Insurance Indonesia and AXA Life Insurance Company Limited in Japan. Commenting on the appointment, Damien Green, Regional Executive of MetLife Asia, said, “Hong Kong is an important market in Asia for MetLife and we are excited to have Lee join us. His breadth of industry experience will serve to accelerate our business aspirations in Hong Kong.”