Supporting Vietnam’s Chairmanship Theme of a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN, the EU-ASEAN Business Council (EU-ABC) has published a paper to help advance the discussion on how ASEAN can support growth in the insurance sector to provide improved coverage across the region and release funds to support long-term investments across Southeast Asia.
“Inclusive Insurance Ecosystem: Long-term Investment, Digital Innovation & Sustainable Healthcare” paper presents a top-level plan for the insurance industry to support ASEAN’s development – an inclusive insurance ecosystem built with three interlocking constituents: Long-term investments – to grow insurance funds and their investment in infrastructure and corporations; Digital Innovation – to provide better, additional services at lower cost to more people; and, Health and Wellness – to prevent and manage illness for longer, healthy lives. The paper notes that growth of the insurance sector drives sustainable economic growth:
Provides long-term finance for infrastructure and corporations;
Supports technology innovation, including technology start-ups;
Generates extra tax revenue and reduces the burden on public healthcare & welfare budgets;
Encourages healthy living and a more productive workforce.
Commenting on the paper, EU-ABC Chairman Donald Kanak said: “the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health, livelihoods and the economy highlights the important role that insurance can play in providing financial safety nets for citizens and businesses. Benefits and services provided by insurance reduces stress on public finances, and funds that insurance companies invest are important sources of long-term capital for governments and businesses. Supporting the development of ASEAN’s insurance sector will increase access to better health for millions of individuals and build more resilience for families and society.”
Speaking on the need for improved tax policies to support insurance, Clarence Wong, Chief Economist, Asia-Pacific at Swiss Re said: "We believe that an uptake in life and health policies by both consumers and businesses will be boosted by effective tax policies. As mentioned in the executive summary, improved wellbeing and productivity, and increased investment stimulates economic growth and that is what we always look for. Ultimately, government budgets will benefit both on the revenue and expenditure sides from this."
Andrew Wong, Chief Health Officer, Prudential Corporation Asia added: “ASEAN is facing rising healthcare costs, high out-of-pocket spending and a growing incidence of non-communicable diseases. Insurance innovation in digital technology and AI can help to make healthcare more accessible and affordable and empower consumers to take greater control of their health and wellbeing. It is important that a regional-wide approach is taken to enable regulators and insurers to work together to ensure that right environment is put in place to allow such digital innovation in the insurance sector to thrive.”
View the full list of EU-ABC publications here