Aon’s APAC chief hails sophistication of Asian risk managers

The new APAC chief for global broker Aon has welcomed what she says is a growing sophistication among Asian risk managers and their insurers, while conceding that insurers must do better when it comes to innovative services.

Anne Corona, who was appointed as CEO, Asia-Pacific in July 2021, was speaking at the Pan-Asia Risk & Insurance Management Association (Parima) conference, in an interview with Parima chairman Franck Baron.

“I see the insurance industry and our clients continue to increase sophistication,” said Corona. “There are more dedicated risk managers and they are increasing their education and awareness of risk.”

Asia has also become an important region for insurers, which are bringing in both talent and capital to cater for the increased insurance appetite among Asian corporates.

Baron asked Corona about the frustration among corporate risk managers at an apparent lack of innovation in the insurance industry, both in terms of new products and existing processes. “We need to provide real-time data and more accessible information. It is a goal. The industry is not as innovative as other industries and we need to be better.”

She also addressed the challenges facing corporates from a hardening market, especially as renewals season nears. “I understand the challenges of the cycle and the increase in cost and reduction on cover. It is important for corporates to build relationships with their insurers and discuss trade-offs over deductibles and terms and conditions.”

Corona also conceded that insurers have failed to keep up with megatrends: “Insurers are not coping very well at all with megatrends and keeping pace with the needs of our clients. There is risk upon risk upon risk. It is all interconnected.”

The Aon executive also addressed two of the most prominent emerging risks in the Asian market – cyber and climate change. Cyber insurance holds a special place in Corona’s heart, given that she spent time heading up Aon’s cyber unit back in 2013.

However, corporates feel that the capacity within cyber policies is not enough to cover the exposure, said Corona. Consequently, more needs to be done to bring more capital into the market. This means looking at the use of capital markets as well as pension funds and sovereign wealth funds.

As for climate change, Corona vowed that Aon would stand by its clients in the energy sector as they look to transition to a net-zero environment.

“Hopefully, as we come out of Covid, we will see a greater focus on climate change. We want to support energy companies in their transition,” said Corona. “We won’t walk away from clients.”