SIRC Recap 2023: Key Takeaways

TL;DR

  • A significant concern around the lack of quality data was vocalised, emphasising the need for improved data standards to better evaluate and price risks for effective reinsurance engagements.
  • Two contrasting perspectives towards reinsurance emerged among regional insurers; one viewing it as a balance sheet protection tool advocating for transparency, and the other seeing it as a begrudging cost, often leading to adversarial insurer-reinsurer relationships.
  • The rise of digital insurance, especially in Vietnam, indicated a promising trend towards tech-driven insurance solutions in the region, hinting at evolving market dynamics.
  • The conference underscored the region's potential for significant insurance evolution, alongside highlighting the systemic challenges that need addressing to fortify the insurance framework in Southeast Asia.

The annual Singapore International Reinsurance Conference (SIRC) serves as a pivotal platform for the reinsurance sector to delve into the market dynamics of Southeast Asia.

Its recent edition unfolded a narrative of exploration, unique risks, and a dualistic approach towards reinsurance among the regional players.

We garnered insights from the ground, conversing with key attendees at the event, here are the key takeaways from SIRC 2023:

1. The Data Dilemma

The Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore vocalised a longstanding concern - the dire lack of quality data.

This sentiment resounded among attendees, underscoring a shared understanding of the imperative to elevate data standards to better understand and price risk, laying down a path for more effective reinsurance engagements.

2. Climate Risk and Natural Catastrophes

The dialogue invariably veered towards the unique climate risks the region is susceptible to, notably the Ring of Fire's wrath on countries like the Philippines and Indonesia.

The discourse underscored the urgent need for a robust insurance framework to mitigate the fallout from inevitable natural catastrophes, spotlighting a significant gap ready for bridging.

3. Reinsurance: A Dual Perspective

Unveiling a dichotomy in perception, the conference spotlighted two prevailing schools of thought towards reinsurance among Southeast Asian insurers.

One, largely influenced by Western ethos, views reinsurance as a balance sheet bolster, advocating for transparency and collaborative insurer-reinsurer relationships.

In contrast, the other perceives reinsurance as a begrudging cost, displaying reticence in data sharing and harbouring a more adversarial stance towards reinsurers.

4. Digital Insurgence

The rising tide of digital insurance, especially in Vietnam, marked a notable point of discussion.

The region's proclivity towards embracing tech-driven insurance solutions was seen as a promising sign of evolving market dynamics, potentially heralding a new era of digital insurance in Southeast Asia.

5. Exploration Amid Established Markets

The SIRC stage highlighted a distinctive exploratory spirit among attendees, particularly those with vested interests in the established markets of Japan and Korea.

The quest was to discern the insurance terrain beyond these markets, diving into the potential that the broader Southeast Asian region holds.

Despite being underdeveloped from an insurance standpoint - barring Singapore - the intrigue around the region's insurance landscape was palpable.


SIRC painted a vivid picture of a region on the cusp of significant insurance evolution, yet encumbered by certain systemic challenges.

The dualistic approach to reinsurance, the imminent threat of natural catastrophes, and the thirst for quality data were the standout themes.

As the East gradually warms up to the immense potential that reinsurance holds, the groundwork laid down in forums like SIRC will undoubtedly play a critical role in navigating the region towards a more fortified insurance framework.

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Jerad Leigh
Ben Rose
Jess McCausland
Tom Spier
Livvie Sandells