Assurex Assesses Asian Market Opportunities, ‘Pitfalls’

April 17, 2007

Assurex Global Partners assembled “more than 100” members “from six continents” at its annual Spring Partners’ Conference, held recently in Hong Kong, where they “discussed the intricacies of doing business in this part of the world.”

The bulletin notes that, “according to Clement Cheung, Hong Kong Commissioner of Insurance,” more than $17 billion in U.S. premium volume was placed last year in Hong Kong alone, as “more and more global firms doing business in the burgeoning Chinese and Pacific Rim marketplace need insurance and advice.” However, Assurex warned, “the brokers assisting these clients must have regional knowledge, experience, positioning, foresight, and global presence in order to effectively cover their risks.”

“The upside potential of insurance sales in China is incredible,” stated John Rodwell, Assurex Global’s VP of International Business Development. “At year-end 2005, China was only the 12th largest nonlife insurance market in the world. But economists predict that within 30 years, China will overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest economy. With more than 500 offices around the world, including China and the Asia/Pacific area, Assurex Global is well-positioned physically for growth in these regions. We want to maintain our expertise in global client service—and first-hand knowledge of any given region is critical to maintaining that expertise.”

Speakers at the conference included “environmental specialists, global insurers, and international attorneys,” who “shared their views with attendees, centering on a discussion of international trade with Asia and the globalization of business and insurance.”

The conference focused on the upside, but also warned on the pitfalls that may occur as follows:
— Growth Opportunities:
Hong Kong’s “low, simple and business-friendly tax structure” has enabled the former British colony to grow an economy that is “equal to $186 billion U.S. dollars, said Alex Fong, CEO of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce. It is also the launching pad to the broader Chinese insurance market, which is expected to see record growth in the property/casualty market over the next 10 to 20 years.” Further growth opportunities exist in India, “which is projecting a 9.2 percent growth in gross domestic product (GDP) for 2006-2007.” Japan too is set for growth as it emerges from “10 years of deflation.” Australia’s economy has experienced at least 15 years of steady growth.

— Caution Urged:
Mark Schaub of King & Wood, a law firm specializing in China and international law, explained the need for caution in Asian ventures. “Many Western companies enter the Chinese market through joint ventures—a model fraught with peril if the company lacks sufficient knowledge of its partner, relies too heavily on consultants, or doesn’t conduct sufficient research on its Chinese business partners,” he indicated.

“We have many multi-national accounts with business flowing both to and from Asia,” noted Jim Hackbarth, Assurex Global’s President and CEO. “Our Partners are particularly adept at coordinating the diverse programs required to service clients across global regions. The Hong Kong conference strengthened our Partners’ understanding of the differences often encountered when working in other countries.”

For further information go to the group’s web site at:

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