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Welcome to our Monthly Newsletter – February 2009

An Established and Successful Force in International Insurance.

Worldwide Risk Solutions is a U.K. based commercial organisation which has the sole objective of facilitating global business strategies and business development in the international insurance industry. For more information about us, please go to www.worldwiderisksolutions.com.

What Is Going On Out There?

There have not been too many real surprises this month as the financial crisis still threatens some of the world’s largest corporations. In some countries, like Japan, this has led to the possibility of alliances between previously avowed competitors. Elsewhere, like in Belgium and the Netherlands, governments struggle to manage the left-overs of fallen giants. In the United States, net premiums booked in 2007 fell for the first time since 1943 and it is anticipated that 2008 will follow suit. In the meantime, those with capital earmarked for expansion are opening up for business at Lloyd’s. Every month there is an acquisition, a market entry, a new joint venture, an adjustment to the alliance between the provisions of the state for social security and healthcare and products developed by the insurance industry. We keep you aware of these through our Talks Around the Bazaar.

Additionally we have for our readers the SPOTLIGHT series, helping you to understand the way different markets around the world operate so that those of you who do business there can feel more “at home abroad.” Different does not need to mean difficult but knowledge of the needs and characteristics of specific geographic markets is a vital advantage to those who are active in the global economy. This helps avoid misunderstandings and unfulfilled expectations. These articles are in a PDF format to enable you either to download them to print off or to save them and read them later.

We have received very positive feedback on these articles and if you have any comments or questions, please let us know. Also, if you would like to discuss your international strategies with us, please contact us. Details are below.

In a change to our plans for the February issue, we are very pleased to be able to publish an article on Iraq. With all the news about Iraq and neighbouring countries focussing on military and political activities, it is refreshing to see that other aspects of life still continue – albeit with a difference. There are a lot of very brave people in this country who are gradually getting the chance to bring normality back into their daily lives. In addition to the article below, readers may wish to look up more about the country at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq and further a selection of articles at www.iraqdaily.com gives a wide range to review.


Spotlight – IRAQ

The travails of Iraq as a country have been well documented in the world’s media over the last five years. Have you noticed how Iraq has not been in the news as much recently? The simple reason, and please whisper it, things are improving significantly there. The caveat of course is that the country is now almost completely divided along religious, regional and tribal fault lines. Many of the professional middle classes now reside in Jordan, Syria or the West and with the dramatic fall in the price of oil there are still many difficult times ahead. A forthcoming year of political uncertainty prior to autumnal elections, strong Iranian influence across the country and virtually no headway made on the vitally important Kirkuk question, means that things are far from rosy in the home of the Garden of Eden.

To read the complete report on Iraq, Please Click Here (PDF Report).

In preparing this Spotlight article we have received invaluable assistance from the leading broker, AAI Insurance Brokers (www.aai-insurance.net), e-mail william.wakeham@aai-insurance.net for which we grateful.

If you would like Worldwide Risk Solutions to conduct an economic, business and insurance survey of any international markets please contact us – Details below.

Worldwide Risk Solutions has access to a wide client base of internationally oriented organisations. Why not utilise this knowledge and experience? We can conduct a swift appraisal of your global activities or answer any questions you may have about international developments. Call +44 (0)1444 450 919 or send us an e-mail and we will respond immediately. And should you be passing through London, please let us know.

In our next Spotlight article we will be looking at the world of estimating, analysing, planning and preparing for the unexpected. There are experts whose niche is to help underwriters manage the future and we shall show you some of the ways they do it. For more information about any of the items discussed in the current or previous issues of WoRdS, please see our Contact Details:

George Worsley, Director
Worldwide Risk Solutions
Telephone +44 (0)1444 450 919
Mobile: +44 (0)7968 191 511
E-mail info@worldwiderisksolutions.com

Talk Around the Bazaar

  • In Japan, three leading non-life insurers, Aioi, Mitsui Sumitomo and Nissay Dowa are to merge – a long process. The new operation will get a new name and will become the largest carrier in the country. For news of this and other companies news, see  www.ft.com and www.businessinsurance.com
  • One of these three, Mitsui Sumitomo, is the first Japanese insurance company to be granted a licence to open a branch in the Qatar Financial Centre. This will give them a good stepping stone for further expansion in the region. For more information on the QFC, go to www.qfcra.com 
  • Qatar and Oman have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on insurance supervision so they can cooperate with regulating insurers who operate in their jurisdictions. For more about the Capital Market Authority and the Sultanate of Oman, go to www.omanet.om/english/
    commerce/econ4.asp?cat=comm&subcat=comm1
  • Iran is to alter the criteria for grading insurance companies in order to promote the industry and explore new markets. It is not easy to get information about the Iranian insurance market from people in that country but our Russian friends have managed a good overview of the market and it can be viewed at http://iran.ru/eng/insurance.php
  • In Saudi Arabia, new regulations are to be introduced which will enhance transparency and combat fraud. New rules will apply to insurance and reinsurance companies, branches of foreign companies and brokers. A wealth of information can be found at www.saudinf.com/main/e2.htm
  • The U.A.E. is introducing mandatory health cover rules for new expatriates who apply for work or visit visas. The Gulf News magazine gives an outline at http://archive.gulfnews.com/
    articles/09/01/03/10271998.html
  • As alluded to in our December issue, the CIRC in China has launched a new classification and supervision system for insurance companies and intermediaries. Further detail is still to be published but the current information on licences is interesting and can be found on the CIRC website at http://www.circ.gov.cn/Portal45/
    InfoModule_5501/85617.htm
  • To counter the slow-down in premium growth in China (in 2008 premiums “only” grew by 39%), the CIRC is encouraging insurers to invest in medial institutions as a lead into expanding the provision of healthcare insurance. For more information on Healthcare in China, visit www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchina/
    2009-01/22/content_7418859.htm
  • Farm insurance in China, on the other hand, is booming with premiums doubling in 2008. For an insight into what is happening in this sector, read more at http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/
    bizchina/2009-01/26/content_7429319.htm
  • Two of the largest insurance markets in central and eastern Europe are the Czech Republic and Poland. The Insurance Services Network gives a good outline of insurance in the Czech Republic on their website, www.isn-inc.com/
    countryinfo/czech-republic.aspx
    and Lloyd’s has an application for a licence pending. Can we soon expect the appointment of a Country Representative like in Poland where good work is being done in the second largest CEE market as planned last year in this Lloyd’s interview? www.lloyds.com/News_Centre/
    Features_from_Lloyds/
    Polish_potential_becomes_reality120608.htm
  • During the past couple of years there has been a flurry of European insurers establishing operations in Turkey, Aegon, Axa, Ergo and Groupama just to name a few. As relations with the European Union should improve, one can expect local laws and regulations to be brought more in line with E.U. legislation. To find out local comment on the Turkish market and to read reactions to the way the country is going, see http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/finance/
  • Another country which could figure on insurance companies’ expansion plans is Argentina. It is South America’s second largest insurance market but still has a low product penetration. Developments such as the law for insuring against environmental damage and a free market rating system mean that foreign carriers with expertise could see opportunities to secure a niche in the market. Regarded by many as the most European country in Latin America, Argentina is a country of extremes as the following website explains, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argentina
  • One country not mentioned much in the insurance media is Indonesia but with the growth and spread of Takaful, there is healthy expectation that in such a populous country, carriers with the right products could establish good platforms for growth. For a list of which Takaful companies already operate in Indonesia (and elsewhere), go to www.islamic-banking.com/insurance/companies.php  
  • Towards the end of last year the ABI (Association of British Insurers) published key facts about the U.K. insurance market which can be seen at www.abi.org.uk/BookShop/
    ResearchReports/Key%20facts%202008.pdf
  • Similar information can be seen about the New Zealand insurance market at www.icnz.org.nz/news/review/07-08/industry-statistics.php
  • At the time of publication of this newsletter, the World Economic Forum is meeting in Davos. For a look at the programme and more, go to www.weforum.org/en/events/
    AnnualMeeting2009/index.htm
  • Germany’s HDI has bought Genworth Seguros and there is talk of further expansion in Latin America. Mexico is not a bad place to start and for more about insurance there, ISN has a good outline on www.isn-inc.com/countryinfo/mexico.aspx
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    We are currently discussing projects in the following markets and are regularly being asked to attend the annual conferences and meetings of the major networks:

    • Argentina
    • Canada
    • France
    • Germany
    • India
    • Israel
    • Italy
    • Malta
    • Mexico
    • Netherlands
    • Poland
    • Turkmenistan
    • United Kingdom
    • U.A.E.
    • U.S.A.
    • Vietnam

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    We continue to work with a growing number of networks to improve and expand their international capabilities.  If you have not already spoken to us about expanding your international markets, now might be the right time for us to conduct a feasibility study. For more information, please see the contact details below.

    What Clients Say

    “We are pleased with the depth of knowledge on international insurance displayed by Worldwide Risk Solutions”

    “They have an excellent network of good contacts”

    * * * * * * * * * *

    CONTACT US

    BY POST
    Worldwide Risk Solutions LLP
    20 Blunts Wood Road
    Haywards Heath
    West Sussex
    RH16 1NB, England

    BY TELEPHONE
    Telephone: +44 (0)1444 450 919
    Mobile: +44 (0)7968 191 511

    BY E-MAIL
    info@worldwiderisksolutions.com

    BY SKYPE
    Skype Name: georgeworsley

    Disclaimer
    Information appearing in WoRdS is checked for technical accuracy but is not intended to provide a basis of knowledge upon which advice can be given. Worldwide Risk Solutions accepts no responsibility for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the material included in this newsletter.